When you find yourself with nothing to do, even for a few minutes, what’s your favorite remedy? Are you like most people and reach for the nearest device?
What’s better for your brain, however, is something more low-tech. The tactile repetition required by crafts such as knitting or crochet has shown to be much more calming than constantly flooding your brain with digital news and imagery.
Knitting in particular is much like meditation, and is especially helpful for those with harmful anxiety. But really anything creative releases the feel-good hormone dopamine which reduces stress and negative self-talk.
And then when your project is completed, getting compliments releases additional dopamine, making you feel good all over again!
Looking at your phone? None of those things.
Throughout time, people have had to make the things that felt good, warm, safe and happy. Nowadays, though, anything you want can be delivered straight to your door with the click of a button. Yet, people still yearn to make things. It’s part of who we are.
The availability and variety of crafting videos, books and kits are the proof. Crafting is a connection to the past and a skill that can be passed on to the next generations.
Even some high fashion houses have embraced hand-crafted garments using old-fashioned knitting and crocheting by actual people.
Some of the evidence of therapeutic qualities of knitting and crafting comes from an online survey of about 3,500 knitters by UK knitting therapist, Betsan Corkhill. More than 50% of the respondents reported being “very happy” when knitting. They also said they knit to be creative, to relax and also to reduce their stress levels.
The survey ultimately showed that knitters who crafted at least three times a week displayed significant levels of calm, happiness and confidence. Also, knitting with a group was more beneficial in these same areas than knitting alone.
Other research has shown that crafting can help reduce cognitive issues related to aging. At the other end of the age spectrum, children who are taught to knit and crochet can better link both hemispheres of the brain. This helps them prepare to learn math and reading.
Some say the clicking of the needles is music to the soul. So, grab a set and some yarn and get creating – your brain will thank you.