Who isn’t stressed these days? Be it our finances, our jobs, our families, our weight, our health, there’s a lot to get worked up about.
Of course we know that too much stress is bad for us, but how do we lighten the load? Sure, there are the standard stress-reducing techniques: exercise, meditation, yoga and tai chi. But we crafters have a secret weapon—our hobbies. Yes, they’re not just self-indulgences, they’re actually therapeutic!
I’ve been researching and writing about crafts and healing for several years now (I’m a health writer by profession, a quilter/multimedia crafter by passion). I even found a study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association that showed sewing is more relaxing than playing a card or videogame or reading a newspaper.
Other studies show that engaging in creative activities can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as medication use and doctors’ visits. Writing about stressful experiences in a diary can reduce symptoms in people with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Journaling about bad or traumatic events can also help improve memory and concentration. Most telling of all, it appears that rhythmic and repetitive activities—like knitting, sewing, quilting and ceramics—can actually reverse the stress response in the body and induce a feeling of calmness in the mind and body. This is known as the relaxation response, and Dr. Herbert Benson (www.mbmi.org) has proven that regularly bringing on the relaxation response can reduce the risk of anxiety disorders, depression, and even heart disease.
Why are crafts healing? Largely because they distract you from your worries and anxieties. They make you focus on the here and now. They’re fun.
So craft on—it’s good for you!
Nancy is also conducting a study and asking : Are you feeling stressed out by your finances, your job, your relationships, or just life in general? Do you want to stay home(!) to participate in a crafts and wellness study---and earn $25? The study requires a 1-hour commitment per day for 1 week. You must be 18 or older to participate. Contact Study Leader Nancy Monson for Information and to apply at NancyMonson @ earthlink (dot) net