When you are stressed, has the overwhelming urge to run and grab your current knitting or crochet projects ever been so strong that you could no longer resist?
Good news! You are tending to your health when this happens by increasing your ability to remember things, dialing in your focus and lowering your heart rate. It does not matter if you are working on an easy crochet pattern or a difficult fair isle knitting pattern, the calming effects are the same. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think of that project: Knit One, Purl One, Knit One, Purl One. Can you see the stitches forming in your mind and feel a calmness wash over you?
Even our friends at Clover USA understand the vast health benefits of knitting. They recently prescribed knitting to the celebrity attendees of the Emmy awards. This “prescription” was attached to gift bags prepared by Clover USA and given to celebrities at an Emmy Awards Gifting Suite this past August.
This idea of the “therapeutic prescription” isn’t new. When you pick up that crochet hook or knitting needles, you are putting your mind to work on something other than the things that are causing you stress. Working in a quiet area with relaxing music will only increase the health benefits of your hobby, so give yourself permission to find that peaceful place and bring your mind to a place of relaxation and tranquility. In fact, doctors have been known to “prescribe” picking up a needlecraft such as knitting or crochet as a alternative approach to treating anxiety. Also, putting those needles to work has long been recognized as an alternative therapeutic activity for people who have been through trauma. According to clinical psychologist Dr Patrick Hill, “Soldiers who had been shell-shocked in the First World War were set to knitting as part of their recuperation.”
“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements,” Betsan Corkhill of StitchLinks says. “The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”
Studies, such as one from the Occupation, Participation and Health journal describe the benefits of various needlecrafts:
- Focus and Concentration on a repetitive task significantly reduces the chances of negative thoughts.
- Repetitive motion has a calming effect, allows contemplation and relaxes the mind for meditation.
- Sensory input can trigger positive thoughts: the smell of an iron on damp cloth, the feel of a beautiful yarn sliding through the fingers, the sound of your needles clicking together.
- Socializing while crafting, such as with a knitting group, boosts overall satisfaction and happiness.
For more great information about the calming effects of knitting and crochet, check out these articles:
- Knit your way to happiness, plus the benefits of walking
- Take up a new hobby to stay healthy, alert
- Can this hobby help you live longer? The health secrets of a 104-year-old
If you are in need of a calming project to pick up, I’ve collected a few knitting and crochet patterns that you might enjoy. All offer a simple stitch technique that will bring you a sense of calm relaxation.
Free Easy Knitting Patterns for your Health:
Simple and Free Crochet Patterns for Relaxing:
Here’s a new way to justify your yarn stash: your mental health is worth it.