Have you ever wondered why Grandma always seemed so happy and content when she was sitting in her rocking chair crocheting or knitting? Or why ladies in old movies were always doing some hand work, especially when there was a tense scene? Maybe the old saying, “the devil makes work for idle hands”, isn’t so far off the mark.

Recent research shows that crafting may destroy anxiety and depression, and it can help keep our moods elevated. Additionally, the act of creating also contributes to keeping our minds sharp into old age, offsetting the effects of aging, and the onset of dementia.

The 2007 literature review, The Neurological Basis of Occupation, by S.A. Gutman, and V.P. Schindler, states the literature they reviewed, “showed that purposeful and meaningful activities could counter the effects of stress related diseases and reduce the risk of dementia.” They continued to state that further research is still needed.

Without going into all the medical reasons, such as which chemicals are released when the body is engaged in various types of activities, and what brain wave patterns are exhibited, we can easily see the benefits to crafting.

You focus on your activity instead of your problems. How often have you heard, “just stop thinking about it!”. When you’re anxious and stressed about a situation, over which you have no control, that just isn’t possible. It seems the more you try not to think about it, the more it stays on your mind. When you engage in an activity such as candle-making, jewelry-making, knitting, quilting, or woodworking, your mind starts to block out your worries as you concentrate on your creation. Even though you may be working hard physically, you start to feel the tension drain and your body relax.

You become a part of a community. When crafting, you soon discover a community of like-minded people. Whether it is because you invite your friends to join you, and they become interested; or because you meet someone at the craft store and start talking with them when you stock up on supplies; crafters find each other. Have you ever stopped to watch the quilters group working at a local church? Do they look stressed out? People who have community tend to be less anxious and depressed. Maybe your community is your family. Teach your children creativity and the art of making things. Crafting is a skill that will serve them well for their entire lifetime.

You experience a sense of accomplishment. Learning how to make something for yourself is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Feelings of accomplishment boost confidence and self-esteem, two important factors in warding off depression. You can further enhance this beautiful feeling by teaching others what you have learned. Teaching helps you continue to grow in confidence of your newfound abilities.

You learn something new. When you learn something new, there is a physical effect on your brain. New synapses form between the neurons as new learning takes place. Learning keeps your mind flexible and is a factor in warding off dementia as we age. It was once believed that we are no longer capable of learning new things that affect our brain health as we age. Fortunately, we now know this is untrue. Learning new crafts, languages, and skills, helps keep your mind active and healthy.

Article courtesy of thehippiehobby.com. The Hippie Hobby is an every other month craft subscription box. Visit www.thehippiehobby.com to order. To order a diffuser necklace kit, simply email [email protected] and they will take your order via email and PayPal. This mini kit is FREE as an introduction to their subscription box. They just ask you pay a small fee of $7.99 for shipping and handling. Don’t be shy, Craft On and remember, #Craft Happens!