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Is Crafting good for your Mental Health?
by Startacus Admin
As if you needed further reason to indulge in all things handmade and crafty, there is a growing school of thought which says they are actually good for your mental wellbeing.
We were rather surprised by this - not that crafting is good for your head - but that there is so much interest in the links between the various acts involved with crafting and our mental processes.
No doubt there are many obvious immediate benefits to an act such as knitting a scarf; relaxation, sense of achievement and of course a warm neck, but on a very basic level it appears more complex factors might be at work when carrying out a task such as this.
As incredible as it might sound, there is strong evidence that crafts (and knitting in particular) can help to significantly ease the symptoms of a whole range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and even post traumatic stress disorder. What's more, regularly taking part in complex crafting pastimes like quilting and knitting might actually slow down the rate at which your brain ages.
Now of course we are not mental health experts, so we can’t vouch for the effectiveness of any of these techniques, however it certainly is intriguing to us that a pastime already so full of entrepreneurial promise might also have such fantastic health benefits.
A lady called Betsan Corkhill from Bath has made it her mission over the past 10 years to research the merits of knitting as therapy. In pursuit of this connection between the mind and knitting she created a website Stitchlinks.com in which she provides a comprehensive appraisal of her findings. Through the site, Betsan, who is also a physiotherapist and wellbeing coach, hopes to promote the use of therapeutic knitting and stitching, as well as build a community of support for those who choose to engage in it. Sounds like a woman after our own hearts!
She has published a global study surrounding the issue, sampling more than 3500 people from all walks of life and found overwhelmingly in favour of the mental health benefits of knitting. Knitting she claims, stands at the pinnacle of what can be achieved through crafting pastimes, since the brain power involved in performing the precise bilateral movements provides significant distraction for a mind that is troubled by certain mental health issues.
"You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements," she explains. "The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts."
Of course any type of crafting can be really beneficial to your wellbeing; not only does it allow you to exercise your creativity and provide a sense of accomplishment, but it can also help you to identify talents and entrepreneurial spirit that may have otherwise gone untapped!
If you are interested to learn more about the science behind the craft / mind connection, Stitchinks looks like a great place to start.
If you are more interested in how crafting can help you to be more enterprising, you might like to take a look at some of the recent posts.