Crafting Your Way to Better Mental Health

Crafting Your Way to Better Mental Health

“Crafting” is a term referring to all sorts of handiwork—knitting, woodworking, even cake decorating.  According to a recent CNN report, crafting is more than just a hobby; it can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain.  In other words, you might want to consider crafting your way to better mental health.

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Pass the knitting needles

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Crafting has been proven to ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from the types of damage caused by the aging process.   Knitters have known for centuries that their activity brings them a deep sense of satisfaction, but research shows that the the act of creating something actually increase happiness on a neurological level, by releasing dopamine, the neurotransmitter released by the brain’s pleasure center.

Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist and wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay, explains that new evidence supports the notion that “creating—whether through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography (or) cake decorating—is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”

Crafting is also unique, she adds, in its ability to involve many different areas of your brain. It can work your memory and attention span while involving your visuospatial processing, creative side and problem-solving abilities.

craftingAccording to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry, leisure activities like crafting, reading books or playing games can reduce our chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50% as we age.  Studies have found intellectually stimulating activities, such as learning a new language, can help prevent cerebral atrophy and significantly delay dementia.

Craftsy.com recently identified even more reasons why crafting is so comforting and beneficial to our mental health.  Click here for the full-sized infographic.

 

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So the next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, remember the words of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and other children’s classics:

“Good, old-fashioned ways keep hearts sweet, heads sane, hands busy.”

 

 

by Donna Giachetti

Donna Giachetti writes frequently for ACT TWO. Her blog posts are available here.

 

 

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