Is knitting good for mental health?

Knitting Has Been Proven To Help With Anxiety Recent research shows what many weavers already know in their hearts, weaving has a measurable effect on calming anxiety and relieving stress. An international survey revealed a strong connection between fabric and feelings of calm and happiness. Doing a craft, such as knitting or crocheting, can help people cope with stress and anxiety. Both the repetitive actions of these crafts and the creativity involved offer mental health benefits.

Knitting helped to lessen the intensity of their fears, clear their minds, and provide them with a sense of pride and accomplishment. All participants in the study considered that the tissue had a positive impact on their recovery. They also said they would recommend the practice to other patients with eating disorders. 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. In group therapy, experts suggest that knitting can facilitate conversation and improve self-esteem. Some participants even said that trying to knit became their “drug of choice rather than taking additional pain relievers.” Buckridge's experience with weaving has been confirmed in studies and surveys of weavers, said Cammie Larson, an occupational therapist at the Marshfield Clinic.

After winning gold in synchronized diving, he woven a bag for his medal to prevent it from being scratched. Corkhill and colleagues reported that the fabric allowed them to redirect their focus, reducing their awareness of pain. The meditative qualities produced through tissue can help people “forget about their mental and physical difficulties for a certain amount of time on a day-to-day basis. She is a blogger for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative in the Mind Well section, which focuses on the importance of mindfulness and mental health.

Buckridge has nursing experience in family medicine and pediatrics and has been an avid weaver for eight years. Like breathing exercises and mindful meditation, which also use repetition for calming effects, the mind and body focus on the present moment and can eliminate judgment from oneself, as tissue becomes the main focus. A study in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing showed that there was a lower level of wear and tear in cancer nurses after completing a 6-week tissue intervention. My mother had taught me to knit when I was 15, and I knitted in class throughout college and for a few years after that.

For weavers with depression, group knitting was significantly related to feeling happier and better about themselves. Researchers gave lessons and tissue supplies to 38 women recovering from eating disorders in a study published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorders. Knitting has the ability to ease people into a state of mindfulness without them even knowing it, allowing people to experience the practice in a different way and use the tool to their advantage. The same survey found that knitting in a group also improved people's calm, happiness, and excitement.

The irony is that tissue itself is addictive, but the key is to change a truly self-destructive addiction to the relatively tame addiction of tissue.

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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