Richard Stride Commentary: The Many Health Benefits of Hobbies and Collecting


Do you have a hobby or collecting activity you enjoy? If your answer is “yes,” you might be delighted to learn there are health benefits to collecting.  

My dad loved collecting coins. He had quite a large collection. I learned a lot about coins growing up, such as the history of the Peace dollar, for instance. The Peace dollar was minted in 1921 to symbolize the end of World War I. I have a coin and paper money collection that I like adding to when I find something that I like.  

For me, collecting is a wonderful, fun hobby. I also collect sports cards, old toys, guns and war memorabilia. When we spend time doing something we enjoy or being around some of our favorite items, it gives us a definite mood boost.   

People collect for many reasons. For some, it’s because they like what they collect. For others, the items might remind them of happier life moments. Collecting has been found to be good for your mental and overall health. It bolsters your brain health.    

After doing some research, here are some reasons I found for why collecting, as a hobby, is good for you:

Collecting will inspire you to seek knowledge about the items you collect. Coin collecting, for instance, inspired me to learn about the reasons why they were minted in the first place and what the symbols on them mean. When you study or learn about something you enjoy collecting, it bolsters your sense of self-confidence. 

Collecting improves your thinking process through organization and observational skills of the items you are collecting. If you think about it, as you collect items, you probably organized and categorized them. Organizing and categorizing items helps with memory and retention. Better memory and retention translate to better work and study habits.

Observational skills will improve as well. Why? Because if you love what you collect, you will always be on the lookout for new items to add to your collection. Who knows where you will find those items — antique stores, trade shows, garage sales, it could be anywhere. 

If you like doing something, such as collecting, you will be focused on the thing you are doing.  

People who collect items say they are less stressed and better able to unwind. When we are focused on something, we most likely are not thinking about the stress in our lives.  

Collecting gives you a safe space, a place where you can relax and leave the stress behind you. 

Hobbies promote relaxation, which ultimately leads to stress reduction.  

The more relaxation and less stress you have, the better you feel. We all realize what stress can do to us. Stress can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue and high blood pressure, just to name a few negative outcomes.  

Collecting also gives people a sense of belonging. We feel as if we belong to something beyond just ourselves, which leads to a sense of community. We might join clubs that are devoted to our hobbies, such as book clubs, gun clubs, rock collecting clubs or coin collecting clubs. We might attend trade shows that feature our chosen collectibles where we can meet others who share the same passion.    

Collecting a certain thing is often something we began in childhood, but not always. The fun of collecting is just that, fun. There is real excitement when you stumble on that rare collectable you have been eyeing or have heard about. Collecting may grow into lifelong hobbies. These items we collect often remind us of happy times in our childhood or happier times in general.  Because of this, it will certainly lead to feelings of wellbeing and contentment.  

If collecting, or any hobby for that matter, makes you happy, then by all means do it. Why wouldn't you? Most collectors will tell you they simply like collecting because it makes them happy. The happier you are, the healthier you are. Happiness leads to a sense of wellbeing and security.  

Happy people find themselves being more productive and having higher energy levels.  According to research done at Harvard University, happy people who have a positive perspective are thus less likely to develop illnesses.  

So, collect away my fellow collectors. You will be glad you did. If someone asks about your obsession, just tell them you're doing it for your health.        


Richard Stride is the current CEO of Cascade Community Healthcare. He can be reached at