Depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions are higher in prevalence than ever before. Anxiety, in particular, plagues about 40 million individuals 18 or older in the United States, which is 18% of the population. Depression, meanwhile, affects about 6.7% of the population in any given year.
Often, one suffers from more than just one psychiatric condition. Fortunately, while medication can be effective, there are other ways to better one's mental health. (This also applies to individuals not necessarily diagnosed with a mental illness.) Crafting is one hobby that can positively influence one's mental health. This article will discuss the health benefits of crafting.
Positive Effects of Crafting
While crafting is usually thought of mostly in terms of something that helps create a tangible object for an individual, it can also provide intangible benefits. One survey of 3,545 knitters conducted by Betsan Corkhill, a knitting therapist, found that more than half of respondents reported that they felt “very happy” after knitting, showing the value of knitting for mental health.
According to an article by Time Magazine, these benefits extend past knitting into other crafting and recreational hobbies. Neuroscientists have found that cooking, drawing, cake decorating, photography, art, music, and even trying crossword puzzles are beneficial for one's mind. For a person who is mentally active, finding ways to calm the mind is imperative.
It is thought that crafting and similar hobbies release dopamine, which is a natural antidepressant and the reward-based chemical that our brains emit to trigger a wanted behavior. Serotonin, another neurotransmitter, is strongly associated with crafting and creative hobbies.
Ultimately, the creativity involved with crafting helps reinforce good feelings, and it has been shown to have health benefits as far ranging as reducing aging and its often concomitant cognitive impairment.
Why Not Try Crafting?
There is literally no risk to crafting; if you end up not liking doing it, you simply have something to new to wear or show off to others. It may take up a few hours of your time, but think of the time as being self-discovery.
Many studies have found that crafting produces similar effects to practicing meditation. It can allow one to experience what psychologists call "flow," and truly separate allow one to experience a transcendent, peaceful state. It can help one put their problems in perspective.
The research is still growing-- we don't have extensive studies on the benefits of one craft versus another on mental health-- but it is becoming consensus that some kind of crafting is good for the brain and soul.
As Corkhill alludes to, one of the reasons that crafting is so good for the mind is that it is so engaging, and thus, it allows "less capacity for bad thoughts."
Where to Start?
To start a crafting project, think about what is most suited for you. Melt art is so fun or if you like to draw , do that. Same goes for knitting, woodworking, or whatever else. Then, look for a craft online shop where you can buy crafting supplies. Craft workshops are also an option.
Although many hobbies can have this relaxing effect, the great thing about many crafting projects is that they can be done anywhere. Corkhill points out that drumming, for example, while possessing similar effects, cannot be done on a bus.