When we are having a rough day (or a rough month) – the boiler has broken down, the kids are sick, work is demanding and the laundry pile seems insurmountable – the last thing usually on your mind is sitting down to crochet.
But some experts say that craft activities are greatways to reduce stress. The American Journal Medical Association did a small study of 30 women with heart complaints and found that completing a craft activity lowered blood pressure, heart rate and perspiration significantly. So regularly completing craft activities can become a preventative measure to assist in keeping a healthy heart.
Not only can craft reduce stress, it can also actively calm you down. Completing a task that takes your focus away from hectic every-day life and onto a small, achievable goal will help you find the peace of mind to tackle the things that are stressing you out.
Craft can also help keep your brain agile. Activities that involve pattern recognition and spatial problems are a great way to exercise the right brain, which seeks to make a whole out of different parts. Exercising both hemispheres of your brain can stave off dementia, assisting memory and problem solving skills.
Making time in day-to-day life to take up craft as a hobby can be difficult at first, but eventually it becomes a habit that you can’t live without. If it helps, join a knitting circle or a sewing class to add a social element to craft. Find a friend to go with so you have a buddy.
Other activities that help to reduce stress and increase brain function:
- Music – playing an instrument is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. Singing in particular is one of the most intense ways to exercise both left and right brain function.
- Sudoku, crosswords and jigsaw puzzles – nothing like a relaxing puzzle, right? Occupying your brain in a problem solving activity is a calming, stimulating process.
- Exercise – we all know exercise is good for the body, but it’s easy to forget that it’s also great for the mind. More reasons to dust off the running shoes.
- Cooking – the simple acts of chopping, peeling, frying, whisking and baking are a way to calm and focus your mind. Plus you get to eat something nice at the end.
Did you take up craft to de-stress? How else do you relax?
Vivienne Egan writes for Yellow Moon