You know making handmade things is a great way to pass the time, express your creativity — and even make a living. But a study cited by CNN confirms another effect to crafting:

Is Crafting Good For The Brain- Here’s A Neuroscientist’s ExplanationAs we move towards the technology age, even science cannot deny the fact that happiness has to come from within, no gadget can give us what we can give ourselves, call it getting back to the basics.

Similarly, it is scientifically proven that crafting has positive impacts on our mental and eventually our physical health. When we are creative, our brain releases a feel-good hormone, dopamine, it improves your mood and is a sure way of bringing you tranquillity.

What Are The Effects?

Neuroscience is finally catching up on brain health aspects of the trend some have called “the new yoga.”

Crafting such as sewing, weaving and crocheting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation — all are reported to have a positive impact on mind health and well-being. It is reported to have benefit to those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging.

What’s The Result Of The Study?

For example, in an online survey of more 3,545 knitters, by Betsan Corkhill, a UK-based knitting therapist who has done research on the therapeutic effects of knitting, more than half of respondents reported that knitting left them feeling “very happy.” And many said that they knitted solely for the purposes of relaxation, stress relief and creativity.

The study found a significant relationship between the frequency of knitting and respondents’ perceived mood and feelings. Frequent knitters (those who knitted more than 3 times a week) were calmer, happier, less sad, less anxious, and more confident.

Corkhill’s study concluded, “Knitting has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to well-being and quality of life.”

Interestingly, the study also found that people who knitted as part of a group were even happier than solo knitters. Knit-ins, stitch ‘n bitch groups, and even scrapbooking parties have many keys of mind and brain health covered.

Here are 10 ways crafting with friends may improve mind and brain wellness:

  1. Mental challenge and problem solving
  2. Social connection
  3. Mindfulness
  4. Development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and fine motor dexterity
  5. Learning and teaching
  6. Focusing attention and thoughts on a task?
  7. Encouraging active creativity
  8. Gives a sense of pride and achievement
  9. Teaches patience and perseverance
  10. Facilitates memory formation and retrieval

According to her study, “The skills and feelings experienced whilst knitting and stitching can also be used to facilitate the learning of techniques, such as meditation, relaxation and pacing which are commonly taught on pain management courses, or in the treatment of depression.”

“Using knitting to achieve a meditative state of mind could enable a much wider population to experience the benefits of meditation, as it doesn’t entail having to understand, accept or engage in a prolonged learning period of the practice. It happens as a natural side-effect of knitting.”

And, according to Corkhill, even Albert Einstein was reputed to have knitted between projects to “calm his mind and clear his thinking.”

Neuroscientists are beginning to understand how mindfulness, meditation and experiencing “flow” impact the brain. Research shows these practices improve depression, anxiety, coping style in the face of adversity, improve quality of life, and significantly reduce stress. All vital for maintaining brain health and well-being.

So how about you? Do you agree with this study? Do you feel relaxed and happier while crafting? Please let us know in the comment box below.

Gary Capps

I live in the one of the most beautiful places in the world on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my wife and our 2 dogs, Poppy and Mia. Since 2009 I have helped over 15,000 handmade business owners to grow their business with our software and free tools designed for todays entrepreneurial artisan.

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