Discover Your Passion and Improve Your Mental Health


What role does passion play in our lives? It’s a question I’ve given much thought to lately.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a professional book reviewer and writer at a dinner with friends. It was wonderful to sit and talk with someone who shared my love for reading, and our conversation reminded me of the importance of having a passion and how it brings great meaning to our lives.

A passion is something you want to dig into more deeply. It doesn’t matter if the passion improves your body, mind or heart. You will be drawn to the things you are passionate about.

I can’t explain how a passion is developed, but I do know that in order to find your passion you need to be exposed to a wide variety of things. You can discover a passion by trying new activities, travelling, or even flipping through magazines and newspapers. When you find the activity you’re passionate about, make the time for it and you will be rewarded.

Having a passion creates a break in our busy lives. I have taken piano lessons for many years and on Tuesday mornings my friends and clients know that I’m unavailable because I am doing something that I love and which is important to me.

I often ask my clients, “What do you do in your life that triggers tremendous pleasure?” “What excites you?” “What do you look forward to doing at the end of a busy day to take away your stresses?” Many readily, and sadly, admit there is nothing.

I often work with my clients to assist them in discovering their passions because it’s important to relieve stress, helps them feel fulfilled, and brings meaning to their lives.

Parents can help their children find their passion by exposing them to a broad variety of activities early on. A passion could be anything for a child, from playing the violin to playing basketball, dancing or acting, collecting comic books or shells, or even making video games and movies.

Having a passion helps a child to build confidence and be more resilient. Nothing saddens me more than a child who says his only passion is to hang out with friends. It’s fine for children to socialize with friends as long as they are fulfilled by the group activity, whether fishing, jewelry making or playing in a band. What matters most is that the child is enthusiastic about the activity and wants to do it again.

For adults, if you love books, you don’t have to read highbrow literature, a romance novel will do. If you enjoy tennis, it’s fine to have a non-competitive friendly game. Many people have a passion about giving back and volunteering. Dig deep and find your passion.

It’s important to note that having a passion doesn’t mean you are always necessarily striving to be the “best” at something. It just means that it’s something that touches your heart and your mind and engages you to an extent that you feel fulfilled. Most importantly, pursuing a passion is key to maintaining your mental health.

Here are 3 ways that having a passion benefits your mental health:

Provides Stress Relief

A passion provides stress relief by providing a balance in life. A bad day at work can be turned around with an activity you enjoy. Going for a run or settling into bed with a good book both come to mind. When your children are screaming and making you crazy, you may look forward to that late morning hour of yoga or painting. Your passion can provide a sense of excitement, a sense of future, and a sense of relief.

Creates Better Self-Esteem

Having a passion can give you a tremendous sense of competency, which is one of the keys to developing good self-esteem. Overcoming little challenges related to your passion can help you to feel even stronger when you come through the other end.

You may enjoy volunteering at your local food bank serving food and cleaning the kitchen, but you have taken on planning the auction for their annual fundraiser. You face many challenges along the way, but in the end you feel a great sense of accomplishment by taking on a challenge within something you already loved.

Creates Resiliency*

Having a passion can make you more resilient. You are more resilient because a passion provides a good sense of self by helping you to get to know your strengths and weaknesses. You may be depressed about the way you were treated at the office, but you may bounce back easier when you have your passion to engage in and lift you up.

Running brings many people great joy as well as great physical and mental strength. It’s a sport done at any time of the day, with only your thoughts and the scenery to surround you.

Or you may prefer to give back to your community by engaging in politics. This passion isn’t necessarily all about heated debates. Many politicians enjoy the responsibility that comes from representing their constituents and their needs.

It’s clear having a passion will benefit your mental health, but your passion can also be contagious. When a person is passionate about something, his actions often inspire others.

When you have a player or coach who is truly passionate about a sport, it washes over the entire team. A passionate teacher can inspire students to look at art in a new way, dive into a book, or pick up an instrument. Parents can teach their children that it’s important to make time for the things you love at any age.

At any age, you can discover your passion and your mental health will benefit. If you’re having trouble discovering your passion, come in and let’s talk.

* Dr. Block will be speaking about resiliency in children and teens at Rumson Fair Haven High school on October 16th at 7:30 p.m.

Building Resilience: Helping our Kids Bounce Back From Adversity
Thursday, October 16th, 7:30 p.m.
Lower Library Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
74 Ridge Road, Rumson (Enter through the rear of the building)