If you’ve ever knitted, painted, sewed or even just made a cake or a flower garden you know how absorbing and satisfying the act can be. You can lose yourself for a while in the process, forgetting all about your worries and concerns. And the best part is that, when you’re done, you have something tangible to show for it. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more people are turning to making as a form of therapy. The act of creating something with your hands can help relieve stress, increase happiness, and even protect the brain from age-related decline.
Crafting can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. And it can be as old-school or modern-day as you like. It could be sewing, pottery or painting, or it could be paper collage or junk art. And the good news is that all types of crafts are proving to be very beneficial for mental health.
For instance, when you’re immersed in a creative activity such as painting or knitting, the brain is forced to focus on the task at hand. This is similar to meditation in that it can cause a temporary state of euphoria by blocking out all other thoughts and allowing you to become fully engaged in the moment. Additionally, it has been found that crafting stimulates the production of dopamine, a natural antidepressant.
In addition, crafting helps you see the world through a different lens. Whether you’re drawing, designing or sculpting, it pushes you to see things from a bigger perspective — a great way to calm the mind and boost self-esteem.
It’s also a fantastic way to encourage children to keep trying even when they’re not successful. This can be particularly useful for kids, who are often afraid to speak up in class or tell their parents when they’re struggling. By encouraging them to come up with a plan for how they’ll handle these challenges, such as painting over a piece they don’t like with white paint and starting again, you can teach them that it’s not about achieving perfection but rather trying your best.
In fact, one study found that cancer patients who were regularly involved in handmade activities experienced more positive emotions than those who didn’t. So the next time you’re feeling down, pick up your glue stick and some yarn and give it a go. Who knows, you might just find a new hobby that makes your heart sing!