Sixteen-year-old Ahmed has great inspiration and passion for writing stories, drawing cartoons and making landscape. “That’s what I love to do!” he says, while making a sketch of a village life. He expresses his feelings in form of art and story writing. He engages himself in such activities to make his life exciting and meaningful.
Meaningful activities are often done for enjoyment, pleasure and fun. Simultaneously, it is imperative that these leisure time activities must be meaningful and enjoyable. The scholars of Islam have emphasized the importance of lawful recreation to the healthy development of a person’s character. Al-Ghazali writes:
If the child is forbidden to engage in play and forced to spend his time in perpetual study, this will result in his heart dying, his intelligence waning and his manner of living becoming so wretched that he will seek from it any escape he can find.”
“After completing his bookwork, a child should be allowed to play in a nice manner, so that he can relax from the fatigue of his studies. His play should not tire him out. If the child is forbidden to engage in play and forced to spend his time in perpetual study, this will result in his heart dying, his intelligence waning and his manner of living becoming so wretched that he will seek from it any escape he can find.”
Our youth is lagging behind in knowledge, enterprise and productivity. Teenagers are not making fruitful use of their time – due to unproductive habits, they are suffering from such psychological disorders as anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear, anger and aggression. These anti- social behaviours compel a frustrated person either to commit suicide or engage in violent acts. Furthermore, the increasing immorality and vulgarity of youth is pushing them towards anarchy and darkness.
The question is: how can a frustrated person relieve his stress? What kind of activities will facilitate mental and physical health and improving the quality of life?
Engaging in recreational activities not only helps in staying healthy but also relieves psychological stress and develops a bright and healthy personality.
Effective and Revitalizing Activities:
- Morning walk and exercise help to relax, give a soothing effect to nerves and reduce stress. These are the best activities which refresh one’s senses and make one feel light again.
- Good reading habits include reading newspapers, magazines and books. Reading an interesting book motivates a teenager to develop reading habit and enhances their learning and vocabulary.
- Through writing articles, stories and diary entries, one can convey his emotions and sentiments.
- Both indoor and outdoor games and sports, such as swimming, skating, cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, squash, tennis and badminton, help to maintain physical health as well as emotional and psychological stability of an individual. In the Sunnah, we see the companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) participating in many different forms of activities. They engaged in such sports as running races, horse racing, wrestling and archery. They spent time in telling jokes and enjoyed lighthearted conversations. This helps to build up an active, positive personality and improve interpersonal relations.
- Many teenagers are engaged in arts and crafts activities. Hobbies, such as drawing, sketching, painting, knitting, making artificial jewelry and other items from clay, are excellent for utilizing time effectively. Arts and crafts activities also enhance the self-confidence of a young person.
- Teenagers in emotional distress should take an adult education class or a course at any institution. Participation in education classes motivates and inspires them to be optimistic and to adopt a positive way of thinking. These types of social gatherings give them opportunities to relieve stress and build new relationships.
- Young people can engage in long and short term training for honing their skills. They will not only learn but also gain motivation for utilizing their skills.
- Gardening has many benefits – it can ease stress for people, who have been diagnosed with depression and persistent low mood. Being surrounded by fresh flowers and plants helps in achieving peace of mind.
There is a dire need for young people to stop engaging in unproductive habits, which waste their time. Engaging in recreational activities not only helps in staying healthy but also relieves psychological stress and develops a bright and healthy personality.