Sports Collecting as a Stress Reliever

Your collection might be valuable, but adding years to your life is even better.

While collectors might agree that finding the one elusive last card to complete a set might be "stressful", it beats the alternative.

Like not having a hobby at all.

For years, medical professionals have suggested hobbies as a way to relieve stress and improve overall mental health. Nothing has changed. In fact, many believe that having a collecting interest–or another pasttime– are more important than ever.

Collecting baseball cards or other sports memorabilia may not improve your physical fitness that much, but it can do wonders for your mental outlook. After a tough day on the job, the ability to lose yourself in something you love is invaluable. Hobbyists are able to free themselves from the constraints of working for someone else and the pressure of expected success and concentrate on their own total enjoyment.

In an e-mail interview with Sports Collectors Daily, Dr. Joel Fuhrman indicated that spare time activities are still important to overall health and well-being. "As a rule they encourage both physical and mental activity to keep the mind and body active and creative," he stated. "When used to re-activate one’s social life, hobbies can be a valuable prescription for physical and emotional health."

Collectors can find excitement within the unknown possibilities of a freshly-purchased box of sports cards, losing themselves among the players pictured inside and the statistics on the back while wondering if something valuable and rare might lurk inside. Swapping cards with other collectors can provide the dual benefits of a feeling of charity and personal achievement. Learning about a segment of the hobby can even provide a sense of empowerment. You may not care to learn a new job skill, but you’ll likely be fired up about increasing your hobby knowledge.

Pursuing a passion can provide mental stimulation in addition to relieving stress. "Hobbies sharpen skills, encourage creativity, and bring added joy to life," Dr. Fuhrman explained. "A recent study in Japan showed that elderly people with hobbies were healthier and happier and other studies investigating long life and successful aging have documented outside interests, involvement with helping others and connection with hobbies and interests all promoted a longer life."

Those who have jobs in which self-esteem can suffer because of negative supervisors or expectation can find respite by working to complete a valuable set of cards, by sharing their knowledge with others via hobby message boards or successfully completing an eBay transaction that puts money in their pocket. Unlike the working world, the end result of a hobby activity is usually much more fun.

Vishal Rao, who operates the Stress Management Forum online, wrote an article in which he stated that hobbies can not only help take the pressure off daily life, they can "open avenues for socializing with like-minded people."

Attending a sports memorabilia show or participating in online forums can build relationships with others who share your passion for game-used bats or the T206 set. Even walking around a big card show can also help keep you active–at least a little. Combine show floor walking with a hobby you love can have a very positive impact, according to Dr. Fuhrman. He says having a hobby "encourages resourcefulness, thinking, planning and patience. It necessitates relationships and interacting with others and creates and feeling of accomplishment. In general, enjoyment in one’s life is one of the most important positive factors for good health."

While allowing us to relax and unwind during our off hours, hobbies can boost our work productivity and relationships. A sense of pride and accomplishment in a collection can translate into a better outlook when it comes to achieving other life goals.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board certified family physician and one of the country’s leading nutritional experts. He has discussed the benefits of Nutritional Excellence on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN and the Discovery Channel. He is a frequent key note speaker at events and is interviewed for radio, magazine, and newspaper articles across the country. Dr. Fuhrman is the author of the critically acclaimed top-selling books Eat to Live and Eat For Health.

Visit his website at: where Dr. Fuhrman personally answers your nutrition and health questions.