Into your hands and out of your head
As many of you know, I’m an avid crafter of all things fiber. I enjoy the tactile aspects of different kinds of fiber; I love working with colors; I get absorbed by the creative process; and wearing things that I have made with my hands is gratifying. As you can see, I love my hobby. But there is more—the repetitive action my crafting requires is incredibly calming. I often feel a shift in my nervous system when I sit down to knit, spin, or weave.
Making something with your hands can be a form of meditation. Working on something that requires a bit of focus and is somewhat repetitive calms the mind, shuts off constant worry, and gets us into state of flow. We need these moments in our daily lives to achieve and maintain good mental health.
If knitting isn’t your thing, you have lots of options to choose from: cooking, baking, woodworking, writing, beading, jewelry making, painting, drawing, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, crocheting, basketmaking, soap making, origami, playing an instrument, and more. I find the act of creating something particularly gratifying, but playing chess, doing crosswords. and playing games are also ways of keeping your focus that can be calming to your nervous system.
I found a few articles that discuss the benefits of crafting on our health:
- Why Crafting is Great for Your Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains, by Sarah McKay, MSc, PhD.
- Craft is the New Meditation!!, by Priyanka Singh
- Craft your way calm, by Suzan Colon
- This is your brain on crafting, by Jacque Wilson
If you’re finding it hard to calm your mind, or you feel worse after an evening of staring idly at a screen, you might consider picking up a craft. I feel like my time watching a show and knitting is time better spent than simply watching the show. I tend to have different kinds of projects for different sorts of situations. There are projects that make a mess and need to be done in a particular location. There are others that require a lot of concentration. And there are some that are very simple and portable, that I can pick up and put down as needed.
I’d love to hear about what kinds of projects you like to work on and how they support your well being.