Did you know that knitting or crochet can help you live longer and healthier?
Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind/body medicine and author of “The Relaxation Response,” says that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
But unlike meditation, craft activities result in tangible and often useful products that can enhance self-esteem.
Knitting and crochet can relieve stress and anxiety but also can assist in quitting smoking and improved metal ability. For example, Karen Zila Hayes, a life coach in Toronto Canada, conducts knitting therapy programs, including Knit to Quit to help smokers give up the habit, and Knit to Heal for people coping with health crises, like a cancer diagnosis or serious illness of a family member. Schools and prisons with craft programs report that they have a calming effect and enhance social skills. And having to follow instructions on complex craft projects can improve children’s math skills.
Some people find that craftwork helps them control their weight. Just as it is challenging to smoke while knitting, when hands are holding needles and hooks, there’s less snacking and mindless eating out of boredom.
I’ve found that my handiwork with yarn has helped my arthritic fingers remain more dexterous as I age. A woman encouraged to try knitting and crocheting after developing an autoimmune disease that caused a lot of hand pain reported on the Craft Yarn Council site that her hands are now less stiff and painful.
Read the full article at the New York Times
Crafting with Friends – get a group together and make it social and even more fun
Here are 10 ways crafting with friends may improve mind and brain wellness:
- Mental challenge and problem solving
- Social connection
- Development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and fine motor dexterity
- Learning and teaching
- Focusing attention and thoughts on a task
- Encouraging active creativity
- Gives a sense of pride and achievement
- Teaches patience and perseverance
- Facilitates memory formation and retrieval