Boost Your Well-Being by Making


A growing body of research indicates that creative activities such as making can help alleviate stress, reduce depression and anxiety, and generally foster a sense of well-being. Many people enjoy the challenge of crafting and DIY projects, and it’s a great way to learn a new skill that can be used for enjoyment or turned into an additional source of income. Completing a project often gives one of the most satisfying feelings because you have produced something tangible. It also teaches you a skill that can be used again or shared with others.

It’s an empowering and self-soothing experience to work with your hands, and creating something from scratch teaches you patience and builds confidence. You can make almost anything with materials at your disposal, including recycled goods such as paper and cardboard. Working with natural materials, such as plants and rocks, can be especially calming. The gentle rhythm of hand-stitching, knitting and beading can lull you into a calm, mindful state. Creating something and then displaying it can boost self-esteem, while giving your creations to family and friends can create bonding experiences.

The verb invent means to think of or develop something original and useful, such as a machine, system, household item or vehicle. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone. The verb develop is more specific than invent and is used to describe something that takes time to make, such as a complex computer software or a car. He’s been developing this new engine for over 10 years.

Make is a very broad term and can mean to form or construct, to produce or compose, or to manufacture. You can make a painting from any kind of paint, but you can only make it look like a real painting by using the proper techniques and tools. The artisan painted the canvas with the right brushes and paints to get the desired effect.

Having fun with crafty things such as sewing and drawing can trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which increases feelings of pleasure and reward. Hobbies that involve a high level of skill also promote the release of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can be lowered by engaging in enjoyable activities.

The act of focusing on a creative project can improve concentration. If you want to challenge yourself, try making something using unusual materials, such as old crayons or plastic straws. You can even find crafts that use nature as a natural stress-relief, such as collecting rocks and then arranging them into patterns or drawing outside with a magnifying glass and pencil to observe details of the green world. Joining a creative group or workshop can connect you to other people with the same interests, and it’s energising to work alongside fellow makers. But you can also do crafts alone and focus on your own mind and spirit, which is equally rewarding. The possibilities are endless! You might even discover that you have a talent you didn’t realize you had.