Crafting for Depression or Anxiety
There is a lot of research that indicates that crafting aids in the reduction of anxiety and depression. As this CNN You Tube video demonstrates, engaging in activities such as knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, sewing, pottery-making, drawing, and painting serves to calm agitated nerves and leads to a happier mood for those who are anxious or depressed.
Here are 6 ways crafting can help with anxiety and depression.
Crafting takes your mind off your problems.
Crafting can serve to distract you from negative thoughts and feelings that bother you every day. Many of us tend to ruminate, or obsess over the same negative thoughts repeatedly. Engaging in an activity such as drawing or knitting can serve to break this cycle. Keeping your mind busy with crafting can also help cause negative obsessive thoughts to recede to the back of your mind, allowing you to feel more connected to your life overall.
Crafting increases dopamine levels in your brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that elevates your mood, making you feel happier. Scientists have discovered that engaging in a crafting project stimulates the production of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is produced in a part of the brain known as the reward center. The natural high felt when dopamine is produced serves as a reward for engaging in the enjoyable practice of crafting.
Crafting improves problem-solving ability.
When you practice crafting, you are working the parts of the brain that come into play when you solve problems, since crafting requires simple problem- solving. This lends you confidence and helps you feel good about yourself because you learn that if you can solve simple problems during crafting, you can also be a problem solver in life.
By keeping your mind functioning in the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. Crafting can help you feel more grounded by helping you feel solidly and positively a part of the present moment.
Crafting feeds sense of pride and accomplishment.
When you create something by crafting, you tend to feel good about the outcome of your project. Not only do you feel good in the moment, but you achieve a finished piece of work. Displaying your work reminds you of your sense of pride whenever you see it. This can help you think positively, elevating your mood as a whole.
Crafting helps achieve a meditative state.
When you engage creatively in crafting, your mind tends to calm down to focus on the project at hand. Then, because you work piece by piece to accomplish your project, you create a calming routine. The routine movement over and over again to bring you back to that same calming place, much like meditation.
As you can see, there are many ways in which crafting can help if you suffer from anxiety and depression. According to CNN.com, “In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling ‘very happy.'” Knitting and other crafts rank as highly as some anti-depressant pills to help those who are depressed feel better about themselves and about the world in general. Next time you’re feeling anxious, take up a craft project, and let it work its magic to improve your mood.