How Knitting Can Benefit Your Health

26/03/2014 16:23 | Updated 26 March 2014
  • Rachel Moss The Huffington Post UK

Not only does knitting allow us to make cute beanies and chunky jumpers, the pastime can have a beneficial affect on our health and help to tackle stress and depression according to some studies.

As part of its This Is Your Brain series, CNN took a look at the effect knitting and other craft making can have on a person's health. Findings suggest that making woolen creations can help to ease anxiety.

"There's promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time," says Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist and wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay. "And that's that creating - whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography, cake decorating - is beneficial to us in a number of important ways."

knitting

Knitting has been named a "natural anti-depressant" in CNN's report, as crafters receive a surge of dopamine while their hands work.

CNN discuss one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, where 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling "very happy."

The benefits of knitting isn't a new topic among psychologists. At a TED talk in 2004, psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi noted then when a person is completely absorbed by an activity, nothing else seems to matter.

"When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life," Csikszentmihalyi said. "You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger."

Studies have found intellectually stimulating activities can help prevent cerebral atrophy and significantly delay dementia.

Knitting stimulates many different areas of the brain including memory and attention span while involving your visuospatial processing, creative side and problem-solving abilities - therefore the pastime could also help protect your brain against aging.

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