I’ve long known that crafting has beneficial properties, but now even that giant of breaking news (CNN) has substantiated this belief. Quoting a study looking at the benefits of knitting on your brain, specifically in PTSD patients, CNN reports that the results are almost identical to those of meditation. The activity of knitting creates a quieting response to the parasympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). In an additional British study, knitting acts as a natural anti-depressant by releasing dopamine both during the creation of the project and at the culmination of the project, either during the admiration of the completed work or when given to a loved one. There is additional work being done to learn if crafting keeps the brain younger by activating memory, problem solving, etc. and thereby preventing atrophy.
Anyone who creates, whether it is music, pottery, gardens or food knows that there are inherent, intangible benefits that come from the process. I have always called my creations therapeutic, and one can see that during times of trial, my output of handmade stuff increases. On a bad day, I’ve learned that curling up in bed doesn’t make me feel any better, but chopping up vegetables or sewing 1/4″ inch seams sure can boost my mood. Science is just substantiating what many of us already know. Crafty diem!