Football funny-man Jimmy Bullard’s easy tip for keeping mind ‘in check’ – brain benefits

Jimmy Bullard goes fishing to predict the FA Cup Final

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Bullard, an ex-Wigan midfielder who helped drive the team into the premier league in the early 2000s, retired from the sport in 2012. Taking ten minutes out of his golf session to speak to the Express, he said he “really missed” the sport but was able to avoid the “wrong path” because of a hobby he’d been doing since he was a child – angling.

He said: “Playing football was everything I knew and everything I had, once I finished I really did miss it.

“Really missed playing. You know, you go down the wrong path, if you’re not too careful, you end up in the pub every night with your mates. It’s not the right path really.

“Football, gave me direction, it gave me continuity. Gave me the reason to get up every morning and play.

“But once that was gone, you know I had to fall back on my hobbies. And my hobbies really keep my mind in check really.”

There’s support for what Bullard is saying.

Having a hobby, it turns out, is linked to lower levels of depression, according to peer-reviewed research.

The enjoyment we feel when you do a hobby activates the reward system in the brain, allowing us to feel pleasure.

Hobbies cause chemical messengers in the brain, such as dopamine to be released. These brain chemicals are associated with feelings of pleasure.

“You’ve got to give yourself some time, haven’t ya. Otherwise you’ll breakdown,” Jimmy said.

He described how fishing is a hobby that helps him get away from the hustle and bustle of “real life”, as he called it.

It’s also a chance to escape the never ending notifications from social media, he said.

“You go on the motorway, everyone’s chopping everyone. They can’t wait to get here, get there.

“Social media, 100 miles an hour on your phone. Everything is just bang bang bang. Fishing is the opposite.

“Just to get out what I call the rat race, you know, it’s lovely. I can’t believe a lot more people don’t do it.”

Despite his love for fishing, he had one warning: don’t forget to buy a license.

“If you don’t have a license on the bank, you get fined absolute serious dollar,” he said.

Bullard is currently supporting a campaign by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to encourage more people to start licensed fishing.

Although Bullard has angling as a hobby – you might want to do something different.

Out of all the hobbies, dancing has been found to be one of the hobbies with the most benefits.

One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that regular dancing sessions reduced dementia risk by 76 percent.

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