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6 Reasons Knitting Is Beneficial For Mental Health

In our constantly moving culture, people are on a desperate hunt for mental peace. Our society today deals with overwhelming amounts of stress, decreased levels of self-confidence, anxiety, depression, negative moods, addictions, and a rough understanding and connection to their peers. The demand for a fix is high, and people are desperate for ways to slow down and re-focus. We’ve turned to medication, vitamins, health foods, sports, meditation, yoga, and more, hoping to find something that will bring peace and restoration to our mental well-being. Hobbies and crafts have made a reoccurrence as of late, and knitting is one of those fixes we have been looking for. With its peaceful, repetitive motion and exciting, creative end, knitting is just the thing we’ve been looking for to help us take a step away from life’s fast paced atmosphere.

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1. Knitting can Reduce Stress

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Everyone is stressed! Somehow it has become a common way of life, and everyone has a hard time focusing with the multitude of things on their to-do list. Knitting offers a space to escape from the stress. It gives the opportunity to focus on just one things instead of twenty plus things. In a study by Heike Utsch, 92% of the participants (out of two hundred and twenty five adults) endorsed knitting as a stress reliever. The study showed that it could combat stress by lowering anxiety, distracting them from their busy lives, and giving them a sense of control. This hobby can be a temporary interruption, but in the best way. It offers a hands-on, yet simple, task that allows people to focus solely on what’s in front of them and not on their scattered future.

2. Knitting Helps People Connect

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Humans are relational creatures. We need people, we need friendship, and we need real, honest community. Other people can keep us mentally healthy and offer the support and love we need. Community is necessary, and knitting offers a window into experiencing healthy community. During Mary Lee Potter’s research she got to experience this through knitting first hand. She joined a group that met for two hours a week, and made friends and experienced a welcoming space for everyone. Knitting groups offer an opportunity to engage and connect. It gives people something in common to bond over and is a great way to find good friendships and pursue mental healthy.

3. Knitting Gives an Sense of Success

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Knitting also brings success. It is healthy mentally to complete tasks and accomplish things. Often it is hard to finish projects, and people normally have multiple things they’re “in the middle of”. Things don’t get done. But when they do it leaves people confident and happier. Once learned, knitting a small project does take long. People are able to whip out scarf in no time, and finishing it takes away from self-doubt, and instead encourages people to take more risks and task. Kathryn Duffy’s study researched women in a rehabilitation house and the effects of knitting. Knitting was able to boost their self-esteem and give them a reason to be proud of their won work, something these women had a hard time doing. It was beneficial to them and to others as well, because finishing a project that has taken time, energy, and focus is a feeling like no other.

4. Knitting can Improve Your Mood

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Bad moods are the worst and can mess up a day completely. Once in a rut, it is hard to get out. Knitting is perfect for those hoping to improve their mood and mental state. It is a constructive hobby because if its simple, hands-on format. It lets people fully focus on one task. This is necessary because it distracts and helps people forget their other emotions and worries. These are often what makes people spiral into a bad day, and knitting can help them restart. Anne Collier survey research showed that a majority of knitters confirmed her theory that knitting could refresh a person’s mood. This simple, at-home remedy can turn a bad day into a great one just by focusing energy on one productive and fun hobby.

5. Knitting can Help in Rehabilitation

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Kathryn Duffy’s work at the Interim House showed how helpful knitting can be in a rehabilitation setting. This center is for women dealing with trauma-informed holistic drugs and alcohol, for those who have or are dealing with physical and sexual abuse, and for women with posttraumatic stress disorder. They held knitting groups each week, and through them these women improved. They learned patience and concentration, and the program helped them gain confidence in themselves. Knitting provided them with a meaningful and purposeful activity, and gave them a place to escape and succeed. Spending time knitting can help heal and grow through learning new skills and character traits. It helps people deal with their struggles in a healthy way.

6. Knitting can Help Express One's Inner Self

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Our culture is stifling. It is hard to be creative and it is hard to be yourself, when schedules are already jam-packed. People do not often let their ideas flourish. Instead they set them aside and get caught in a loop with each day’s same old flow. We are supposed to be creative; it is how humans are wired. It is mentally healthy to be unique and imaginative, and knitting offers an opportunity to invest in creativity and express yourself. There are so many things to create and there are always new knitting patterns to try, and new ones to be made. Picking the color, the shape, and the purpose of a knitted piece offers an outlet to experiment and put yourself on display. It’s not healthy to suppress something as natural as creativity and who we are. Magda Sayeg was able to use knitting, specifically yarn bombing, to express who she was to the world, and escape the stifling, gray world she was living in. Knitting offers a whole new world, and it is perfect to show everyone who we are.

Works Cited

Collier, Ann Futterman. “The Well-Being of Women Who Create With Textiles: Implications for Art Therapy.” Art Therapy, vol. 28, no. 3, 27 Sept. 2011, pp. 104–112. doi:10.1080/07421656.2011.597025. Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

Duffy, Kathryn. “Knitting Through Recovery One Stitch at a Time: Knitting as an Experimental Teaching Method for Affect Management in Group Therapy.” Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, vol. 2, no. 1, 22 June 2007, pp. 67–83. doi:10.1300/J384v02n01_04 . Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Potter, Mary Lee. “Knitting: A Craft and a Connection.” Issues in Mental Health Nursing, vol. 18, no. 1, 14 Oct. 2016, pp. 1–3. Taylor and Francis Medical Library, doi:10.1080/01612840.2016.1230160. Accessed 18 Feb. 2017

Sayer, Magda, director. Magda Sayeg: How Yarn Bombing Grew into a Worldwide Movement. TEDyouth, Nov. 2015, www.ted.com/talks/magda_sayeg_how_yarn_bombing_grew_into_a_worldwide_movement#t-84158. Accessed 17 Apr. 2017.

Utsch, Heike. "Knitting and Stress Reduction." Order No. 3250730 Antioch University New England, 2007. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/docview/304742173?accountid=14780 Web. 27 Feb. 2017. Accessed 18 Feb. 2017.

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