Find a hobby you'll enjoy—and stick to—by understanding which personality type you are: extroverted, agreeable, open, conscientious, or neurotic.
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Group of people at a community garden
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No one's life is quite like another's, but no matter who you are, mental health experts recommend having a hobby. Taking part in a routine activity can boost your brain health, help you form new social bonds, and add structure to your life—so long as you choose one individualized to you. "Understanding ourselves, our traits, and preferences can facilitate the choices we make in many aspects of our educational, professional, and personal lives," says Monica Vermani, C. Psych, a clinical psychologist and the author of A Deeper Wellness: Conquering Stress, Mood, Anxiety and Traumas ($21.34, amazon.com).

The best way to identify hobbies you will like? By learning more about yourself. Regina Bonds, a business and lifestyle coach, recommends understanding the five broad personality types, as these traits provide a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses. They also help us figure out what we want out of life, grow in relationships, and have a better grasp on learning about others.

Identify your own personality type and you stand a better chance of understanding and participating in the hobbies you enjoy—and stick to—most.

The 5 Personality Types

There are five basic personality dimensions, which are known as the Big Five. They are broad groupings used to describe personalities and are often referenced by the acronym OCEAN: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

"Each of these five personality factors represents a continuum between two extremes," says Dr. Vermani. "Most people possess traits somewhere in the mid-point of the polar opposites." Plus, as people mature, learn, and grow through life experiences, their traits shift.

Openness

Bonds describes individuals who fall under this personality type as always curious. "They have creative imaginations, are open to trying new things, love new challenges, and are not afraid to take risks," she says. "People who are low in openness may struggle with trying new things; they would rather stick with the traditional way of doing things."

Conscientiousness

These people are highly sensitive individuals who always think about how their behaviors affect others. "They're mindful of every little detail, and spend time preparing to enjoy their set schedule and daily routines," Bonds says. "They plan and love meeting deadlines." If someone is low in conscientiousness, they dislike structure, have a hard time sticking to schedules, misplace things, and usually procrastinate.

Extraversion

If one considers themselves a "social butterfly," then they are probably extraverted. "These individuals tend to be very outgoing—being in crowds and around others helps energize them and gives them a burst of life," says Bonds. Plus, they are often an open book and enjoy meeting new people. On the other hand, those who are low in extraversion would rather be alone and need private time to recharge, particularly after social events.

Agreeableness

Dr. Vermani explains that agreeable people are usually cooperative and have an optimistic view of life: They get along well with others and are typically kind, trustworthy, altruistic, empathetic, and affectionate. "People low in this trait often put their interests above the interest of others; they tend to be distant, unfriendly, and uncooperative," she says. "They may manipulate others to get what they want and have little regard or concern for the feelings and problems of other people."

Neuroticism

Neurotic people are distressed by the world and find it threatening and unsafe. A person with this personality type—or who regularly experiences this category's traits—can seem sad, moody, and irritable. Dr. Vermani says this category "encompasses individuals at both extremes and everything in between, from those who are emotionally stable to those who are in a state of complete emotional chaos." Most often, those with a neurotic personality have trouble coming back emotionally from challenging life experiences—and needs some support and care to do so. If someone falls under the neuroticism personality type, but experiences its symptoms on a smaller scale, they often manage stress well and are emotionally stable.

The Best Hobbies for Each Personality Type

Keep in mind that personality types are broad—and there is a chance that people can experience several of their affiliated characteristics at once. "Humans are complex, and while it's not good to label people and put them in a box, we should get to know ourselves personally," Bonds says. "I suggest making a personality test a part of your self-exploration journey. Practice getting to know yourself on an ongoing basis, so you can experience the best life whatever stage you're in." Once you determine your own personality type—you can do so via tests like Truity's—consider participating in one of these hobbies recommended by our mental health experts.

  • Openness: People who enjoy creative hobbies
    • Visit museums 
    • Go on nature hikes
    • Read a novel 
    • Attend a theme park
    • Participate in arts and crafts
    • Travel locally or abroad
    • Take up photography
    • Attend creative and adventurous baking and cooking classes
  • Conscientiousness: People who enjoy purpose- and results-driven hobbies
    • Write 
    • Start a garden 
    • Play chess or games that require strategy
    • Volunteer
    • Support housing initiatives, such as Habitat for Humanity
    • Attend structured and challenging cooking classes
    • Participate in trivia
    • Try escape rooms
  • Extraversion: People who enjoy social hobbies
    • Attend a high-movement workout class, such as Zumba, or a dance class
    • Take a group painting or pottery class
    • Host game nights
    • Attend concerts and festivals 
    • Join a debate or public speaking club
    • Go to improv classes and groups
    • Engage in networking events
    • Sing in a choir or band
  • Agreeableness: People who enjoy hobbies that help others
    • Volunteer at a charity 
    • Host a book club 
    • Create and read poetry for someone
    • Support a local shelter 
    • Start a community garden
    • Put on a food drive
    • Plan seasonal community events and celebrations
    • Take part in a sports league
  • Neuroticism: People who enjoy soothing, solitary, and supportive hobbies
    • Train for marathon 
    • Start a blog 
    • Tend to houseplants 
    • Learn a new language 
    • Join a support group
    • Meditate
    • Fish
    • Complete puzzles and crosswords

Comments (1)

Martha Stewart Member
July 31, 2022
i guess i have multiple personality types, lol. i enjoy many hobbies from the different personality types with the exception of agreeableness,lol.