Knittaz 4 Lyfe: Knitting Improves Mental Health

by Amy Carlberg

The next time someone asks who you’re knitting that sweater for, say your brain. 

It’s long been assumed that creative types like Sylvia Plath are somehow more susceptible to depression, when in fact the opposite might be true; writing poems may have been her brain’s way of fighting depression. 

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life,” says Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. “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.” 

This is flow, or “the secret to happiness” according to Csikszentmihalvi. Our nervous systems can only handle so much stimuli, which is why no matter how often we say we can, it’s not possible to follow two conversations at once. When we become involved in creativity our minds are “temporarily suspended” above stressful rent cheques, taxes, assignments or last night’s bad date.

The daily grind of a 9 to 5 existence can seem depressing and pointless, amiright? Without the neanderthal necessities of hunting down a wild animal for dinner or finding a non-lethal cave to sleep in, our human minds seek activity to work out basic everyday stress. Hands-on work has been shown to promote pride, satisfaction, pleasure, meaning and well-being. 

If it seems like this winter is never going to end and it’s got you a little blue, try knitting, crocheting, or any other manual activity, like crosswords, gardening, woodworking, or cooking. Just don’t plan on getting any supplies from Hobby Lobby

Share knitting patterns or tell us how you use crafting to chill out below!



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