Knitting, crocheting, painting and other crafty endeavors might appear to be little more than enjoyable hobbies that will keep you busy and, if you’re any good, give you something to show off when a project is complete, but there is much more to crafting than you might think. According to research, regularly participating in crafts could have a number of benefits for your health. Here are some of the surprising benefit of crafting:
Lower Stress Levels
The focused attention and rhythmic motions that many crafts require have been shown to produce a relaxing effect that is similar in nature to meditation. In one study that was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, many of the 3,500 knitters surveyed believed that the more they knitted, the calmer they were. They also said that the activity was ‘restful,’ ‘soothing,’ and helped them to relieve stress and anxiety.
Another study found that crafters were happier after indulging in their hobby of choice than they were beforehand, with only one percent of those surveyed reporting that they felt as sad before crafting as after. There is also evidence to suggest that crafts such as knitting can help to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and a lack of self-esteem. So, although they are not a panacea by any means, if you’re struggling with your mental health, taking up a craft, and making homemade gifts or a nice blanket, could help you get some semblance of normality back in your life.
Boost the Brain
As we get older, our cognitive abilities begin to decline to a greater or lesser degree, which could lead to anything from mild memory loss to full blown dementia. Fortunately, research has shown that getting crafty could help us to stave off this cognitive impairment and boost our brain power as we age. In fact, in one study, which looked at adults between the ages of 70 and 89, it was found that participants who regularly took part in activities like knitting, papercrafting and sewing were at a lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who did not. The study also found that crafting was as good as reading, working with computers and playing brain training games, for keeping cognitive impairment at bay!
Another thing that crafting can help anyone with is the management of chronic pain. A study conducted by the Royal united Hospital in Bath, UK and presented at the British Pain Society found that people with chronic pain who knit are less likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and a loss of identity. More surprisingly, it found that the act of crafting was enough to take their minds off their pain, allowing them to lead a simpler more fulfilling life.
As is evident, there are so many good reasons to start crafting, above and beyond the satisfaction and sense of achievement it gives you, and there has never been a better time to learn to knit or paint, thanks to the many online sites that now offer free or affordable tuition and the abundance of local classes on everything from glass blowing to pottery. So, what are you waiting for?