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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

How Crafting Can Help With Wellbeing


A hobby, good book, or even a jigsaw can all soothe the soul when we are searching for a little calm in the swell of our day.

Crafting has, for a long time, been one of the go-to interests for creating the balance we crave.  Just look at the rise in popularity of the adult colouring books on the market.  I subscribe to Art Therapy, a weekly magazine packed with images waiting to be coloured in and displayed around the home.  As an avid meditator, this activity is perfect for me.  I can lose myself in the attention to detail and any disorder in my mind is replaced with a quietness that I can’t find anywhere else.

It’s not just colouring-in that can give you this release.  Take a look at the Stitch Links website, the home of therapeutic knitting since 2005.  They advocate the ‘use it or lose it’ strategy.  A belief that our brain, as well as our muscles, needs to learn something new to stay active.  When we learn a new skill we increase connections within our brain and this in turn can help strengthen our brain against such diseases as Alzheimer’s, depression or chronic pain.

My mum is a keen crafter, and she took me along to a workshop at our local Hobbycraft store this week.  The workshop tutor, Nicola Grice, who some of you may remember from my book, How I Changed My Life in aYear.  Nicola helped me with my sewing challenge and supervised me as I made a quilted cushion cover.  She writes the Sunshine Reflections blog and enjoys a huge array of crafts.

For our workshop, we looked at stamping with inks and creating a layered image giving the illusion of depth.  There were also fairy and dragon stamps involved, so I was in my fantasy element.
 

 

The class only lasted two hours, but during that time I forgot all about my current health issue and the pile of ironing at home.  I even forgot about the traumatising Game of Thrones season finale I had watched the previous evening.  It was yet another distraction from day-to-day anxieties and a form of meditation.

It is a fact that crafting can be used to help issues such as addiction, depression and even OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  Nicola runs classes for Alzheimer’s groups with wonderful results.  The repetitive and almost rhythmic movement of most creative activities occupy our brain and allow us that time out we need for optimum wellbeing.

Try something new today, choose a craft you may never have tried before such as jewellery making, paint by numbers or crochet.  As well as achieving a meditative state, you may just find you have a natural ability and it leads to much more.
 

Header Image courtesy of Kromkrathog at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 comments:

  1. This is a lovely idea, and you don't have to be a world-class knitter to feel the benefits. I like colouring in mandalas. In fact, this is what I did when I stood on the top of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square as part of the One & Other art project.

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    1. Thanks, Julia. Your One & Other art project sounds amazing, what a great way to be creative. Even though my knitting is hideous, I did enjoy the time-out and I was concentrating so hard on my stitches that I totally zoned out. :-)

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