Does knitting release dopamine?

There is evidence from surveys that support the dopamine effect of craftsmanship. In a 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. More serotonin is released with repetitive movement, which improves mood and a sense of calm.

After you've learned how to knit or crochet, you can also lower blood levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The repetitive and rhythmic movements that make up the fabric could be the key to relaxation. Dr. Barry Jacobs of Princetown University discovered that animals that perform repetitive movements trigger a release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with calm and well-being.

Whether you like to knit and make jewelry, or just want to learn a new hobby, crafting is not only about doing nice things, but it also improves your mood. The prison project reminded me of a project where a friend from Albuquerque has been working to get yarn for women in prison to knit or crochet. When Betsan Corkhill, a knitting therapist, surveyed 3,545 knitters online, more than half of those who responded said they were “very happy after knitting. Betsan says that the particular fabric, along with other rhythmic crafts such as embroidery and weaving, releases serotonin and dopamine through repetitive hand movements, and induces a sense of calm.

Keep in mind that while activities such as crafts, knitting, and sewing have been shown to reduce stress levels, these creative outlets are not a cure for all clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders. An impressive 74% of people reported that knitting lessened their fears and prevented them from reflecting on their eating disorders; and 53% said it provided satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Interestingly, the study also found that people who knitted as part of a group were even happier than single weavers. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy published a study on the correlation between tissue and well-being in adults.

Weavers know that meditative state of mind when calm and concentration direct their fingers flying around the thread and needles. The Waldorf School has been incorporating crafts such as knitting and weaving into its curriculum since its creation in 1919.The study found a significant relationship between knitting frequency and respondents' perceived mood and feelings. Interestingly, about 100 years ago, doctors even prescribed tissue to women they described as “anxiety-ridden” because they found it calmed their nerves. Grab your knitting needles and take out your wool stash, because knitting, crocheting and craftsmanship have been linked to reducing stress levels and increasing your body's dopamine production.

In an online survey of more than 3,545 weavers, conducted by Betsan Corkhill, a UK-based knitting therapist who has conducted research on the therapeutic effects of fabric, more than half of those surveyed reported that the fabric left them “very happy”.

Jane MacDonald
Jane MacDonald

I am of the author and owner of I Love Knitting. I first learned to knit when I was around five years old, and stop doing it when I hit my teens! I than picked it back up when I had my first child, and have since taught all three of my children to knit.

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