Why Crafting is Good for Mental Health

As we consider this time of year and all we have to do, we find we are thinking more and more about the gifts which art and craft provide to us.  We ALWAYS feel better when we make at least a little time to do something artsy or crafty.  

Recently a friend send this article over, and we thought it would be perfect to share.  We couldn't day it any better ourselves.  Here's the article by Robin Shreeves of 

Why Crafting is Good for Mental Health
by Robin Shreeves

Our senior year of college, my roommate Gayle and I waited tables until closing time at a local restaurant. We’d get back to our dorm late, physically tired but mentally wired. Our conservative school didn’t allow televisions in our dorms, so we couldn’t plop ourselves in front of one to quiet our brains.

Instead, we took up counted cross stitching to relax. We’d sit there with needle, thread and canvas, methodically following patterns, sometimes chatting but more often in silence. Eventually our minds let go of the racing thoughts that goes with the quick turnover of tables on a weekend night, and we would be able to go to sleep.

So, it’s not surprising to me that recent studies are finding that complex crafting is good for mental health. The repetitive mindfulness of knitting, for example, has been likened to meditation. When 3,545 knitters were surveyed online by Betsan Corkhill, a knitting therapist, more than half of those who responded said they felt “very happy” after knitting. Many of them did it specifically for relaxation and stress relief. Those who knitted more frequently reported more mental and emotional relief than those who did it less frequently.

Is it just working with needle and thread that has these effects? No. Neuroscientists are studying other forms of creativity and finding that activities like cooking, drawing, cake decorating, photography, art, music and even doing crossword puzzles are beneficial, according to Time magazine.

Why? One thought is that when we’re being creative, our brains release dopamine, a natural anti-depressant. Creativity that takes concentration is a non-medicinal way of getting a feel-good high.

READ the rest on Mother Nature Network