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Mindful Hobbies: How Getting Crafty Can Do Wonders for Your Mental Health

Mindful Hobbies: How Getting Crafty Can Do Wonders for Your Mental Health

Mindful Hobbies: How Getting Crafty Can Do Wonders for Your Mental Health

Getting crafty could literally change your life.

No really! It sounds dramatic, but crafting - whether it’s crocheting a jumper or hand painting a pot - can have a hugely positive effect on your mental health.

In a world that’s always busy, with our phones constantly pinging notifications from social media and news that just keeps getting worse, it can often be hard to clear your brain and just breathe. That's where crafting comes in, with mindful hobbies like knitting and crochet having the potential to work wonders on your mental health, whether that's managing stress or taking the edge of anxiety and depression. Losing yourself to some crafty therapy can really help your mind to just switch off and relax.

Knitting designer Lauren Rad from A Bee in the Bonnet said: "In the 16 years since I started knitting, I've talked with hundreds of makers, and one theme emerges again and again: the comfort we find in stitching. Knitting, crocheting, and other fibre arts give us a space to slow down. The slowness of the making process can help slow down racing thoughts, and the steady rhythm of stitching helps provide physical comfort, too. There's a real sense of accomplishment in making something beautiful with our own hands, which can be so helpful when periods of rough mental health affect self-esteem.”

How do crafts relieve stress?

Crafting as a form of therapy isn't anything new, and there are many many studies and professionals that back up the fact that grabbing a ball of yarn and some needles can be an excellent therapy. It's basically a form of meditation, repetitive motions over and over that keep your hands busy while letting your mind focus on something other than whatever you might be worried about.

"Engaging our hands and our creative brain in a task really facilitates us going into deeper layers of consciousness and into more of a “flow” state. It gets us out of our logical mind - the place where worry and rumination live - and focusing on the present moment. Anything that pulls us out of our rational mind and into the present moment, in times when we otherwise aren’t actively problem-solving (like trying to stay safe when crossing the street), is great for our mental health. Engaging in any crafty hobby gives your mind a chance to rest, which is super helpful! Doing so regularly can lower overall levels of anxiety, help to elevate someone’s mood, and make it easier to focus on fun and joy in life," said Hannah Yang, Psy.D, a licensed Psychologist and CEO at Balanced Awakening.

Griff Williams from MindEasy also said: “Crochet and knitting serve as excellent anchors for focus, much like the breath or body sensations in traditional meditation. These crafts require a level of concentration and rhythmic engagement that naturally brings the mind to a state of present awareness.

“The key element in any mindfulness practice is the anchor point for attention, and there's nothing inherently special about the breath or body in this regard; they are simply convenient because they're always with us.

“However, if someone finds crochet or knitting to be a more effective focus point, then these activities hold as much value as any meditation practice.”

Why is crafting good for anxiety

Crafting can also work wonders for your mental health as a creative process. It's an outlet that encourages you to experiment and really express yourself. Choosing colours, patterns and designs can help you convey emotions and really use your imagination to make pretty much whatever you want, and create something that YOU love.

Dr Deborah Gilman, a Licensed Psychologist, said: “Crafting allows individuals to express their emotions in a non-verbal way. Whether it's through the choice of colours in a painting or the design of a handmade card, crafting becomes a form of emotional expression. This can be particularly therapeutic for those who find it challenging to articulate their feelings verbally.”

Crafting can also help with anxiety by fostering a sense of community! If you’re feeling lonely and isolated, finding like-minded people by joining knitting circles, crochet clubs, or attending craft workshops - even posting your pics online to an online community! These give amazing opportunities for social connection and community building. Sharing tips, stories, and laughter with fellow crafters creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie, combating feelings of loneliness and promoting overall well-being.

“Many crafting hobbies have vibrant communities where enthusiasts come together to share their creations, ideas, and experiences. Joining a crafting community provides an opportunity for social connection, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. Interacting with like-minded individuals fosters a sense of belonging and support,” said Dr. Gilman.

How to start crocheting or knitting

Picking up some yarn and needles is easier than you think! Our Chonky yarn is amazing for beginners since it’s nice and thick - meaning it's easier to see your stitches and get used to how holding it feels. Plus your projects work up super quickly so it's easy to stay motivated and excited in your new hobby.

A pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook are easily found in your local craft shop or online - even some supermarkets or other shops will have them! There are thousands and thousands of free patterns online and even more free tutorials on YouTube or other social media, so starting a new yarn-y hobby really is that easy!

Check our our Chonky Yarn and free patterns here!

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