Creating something, whether it is a painting, cake, craft or project, has the power to make you feel good. Making has long been considered a therapeutic activity that helps people cope with stress and anxiety and even reduces the risk of serious health conditions, such as dementia.
In fact, a study by The American Journal of Public Health found that those who engage in art have lower levels of depression and stress, and are more positive. This is because the process of creating things with your hands can trigger a number of neurotransmitters that promote happiness and well-being, while also decreasing your stress levels.
The act of crafting stimulates the release of dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Dopamine has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain, helping us to feel happy and rewarded, and can help improve memory.
There are a number of different types of crafts that can have these benefits, from traditional activities like knitting and quilting to more modern activities like card-making, resin and body scrubs. The key is to find something that you enjoy and make time for it regularly.
A good way to get started is by choosing a simple project, such as a card or bookmark, and then making it a challenge to see how much you can do in a short amount of time. This will encourage you to keep on creating and not give up, which is especially important if you’re struggling with self-esteem.
Embroidery, crochet and knitting are all a great choice for those who struggle with their mental health as these are all relaxing and therapeutic activities that can help to relieve anxiety and stress. They are also thought to boost the release of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.
Another beneficial aspect of a wide range of creative activities is that they are believed to help exercise the brain, reducing our risks for dementia and other debilitating neurological disorders. Research has found that knitting, crocheting and other hand-based activities are a great way to improve cognitive function as you age, and can even delay the onset of dementia by as much as 50%.
It is also a wonderful hobby to take up with your children, as many arts and crafts activities involve child-directed activities which can be particularly therapeutic for young children. They often respond to creativity with delight, which can be a fantastic motivator and teach them that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
It is also a fun and social activity, as you are likely to meet new people while you make things. Taking part in an arts and crafts activity is also good for your self-esteem, as it can give you a sense of pride in your work.