Crochet Benefits | Crochet as therapy | Learn to crochet online - Crochet obviously cannot replace the advice of a health professional but did you know that it's recognized as one of the scientifically proven ways to reduce stress? In a recent video I outlined my top 5 crochet benefits, discussed the benefits of crocheting and why I advocate for crochet as therapy.
Positive impact on physical and mental health
I discussed some of these in the video, and promised you some links:
- A Craft Yarn Council survey of 3,500 crocheters and knitters found that 85% reported reduced stress and 68% reported improved mood as a result of their craft
- A study by the Mayo Clinic for the American Academy of Neurology reported a 40% reduced risk of memory loss in those who engaged in crafting during middle age
- A study in The Journal of Eating and Weight Disorders showed that 74% of patients in the study who were taught to knit reported that it had calming, therapeutic benefits and lessened the intensity of their anxiety
- The Creativity Cure: How to build happiness with your own two hands In this book, psychiatrist with the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Carrie Barron, praises knitting as an effective way to alleviate anxiety and depression stating “the rhythmic, mathematical nature of the craft keeps the mind absorbed in a healthy way, ridding it of stressful thoughts and allowing for internal reflection.” Barron calls knitting “a powerful, preventative medicine like an anti-depressant that seems to be doing something antidepressants and psychotherapy cannot do.”
- Andrea at Crochet Therapy blogs about how crochet has positively impacted her happiness
- Betsan Corkhill, the author of the book Crochet Therapy: The Soothing Art of Savouring Each Stitch, is researching the therapeutic possibilities of yarn crafts. Part of this research involved a survey of 3,545 knitters - the results of which were published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy
- The 2020 Life Mag article, 14 Surprising Health Benefits of Knitting and Crochet, does a good job summarizing the physical and mental health benefits of yarn crafting that we know about
Productive sense of calm and mindfulness
Most of the research on the benefits of fibre arts looked either just at knitting or at yarn crafting in general. So what makes crochet so special? We only have anecdata to support this but it seems to be a combination of:
- Simplicity. Crochet is just a hook and some yarn. Only one stitch is active at a time and it's extremely forgiving of mistakes
- Repetition. Another aspect of its simplicity - crochet involves pulling yarn through a loop, over and over and over
- Especially meditative. Crochet is a hands on meditation - for those of us with ADHD who can sometimes have trouble focusing, sitting and quieting our mind, crochet provides all the benefits of meditation in a way that's both accessible and productive
Particularly helpful for neurodivergents
This instagram comment on one of my posts summarizes really well, so much of what I feel about crochet:
I was always an anxious person, a worrier as my dad calls me. After the birth of my 3rd baby, it developed into postnatal anxiety disorder. It was absolutely crippling. I had been crocheting for a few years at this point but it was at this time that I discovered that crochet for me was not just an enjoyable hobby, but a grounding activity that comforted and soothed me. It allowed me to pause upsetting thoughts and focus on the task literally in hand. So many elements of this craft are a balm to the mind. Counting stitches, the texture of the yarn, the therapeutic nature of colour, following a pattern, the surety of an expected outcome, the sense of achievement on completion of a project or even a section thereof. On top of all of this, there is the comfort and strength of being part of a community. Connecting with other enthusiasts who will offer encouragement, praise and help with whatever you're working on as well as enjoying looking at their creations too. All of these things are grounding. I would encourage anyone who is struggling in any way with their mental health to give something like this a go. The benefits are immeasurable. I was so glad of this hobby when I was going through all of that and glad of it still when I have a bad day or more.
As I mention in the video, Kathryn Vercillo wrote a book called Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet, in which she shared her story of how crochet helped her survive crushing depression. In addition, she interviews other women who detail how crochet helps them manage stress, anxiety, OCD, addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia and chronic pain.
Connects us with others
I share in the video that this happens in two main ways:
- Social connection. Crochet brings us together. Whether in online communities like Ravelry, yarn circles or craftivism it allows us to connect with and support others.
- We get to give and make a difference to others. Whether it's donating a blanket or making a hand-made gift for a friend, crochet exercises our empathy muscles and strengthens our communities. I've got a separate blog post planned on this topic so keep an eye open for that.
Boosts self esteem
I recently asked some women with ADHD what about their ADHD they found the most challenging or frustrating to manage. Their answers included:
- feelings of failure and guilt (260 votes)
- Rejection sensitive dysphoria (75 votes)
- Imposter syndrome (39 votes)
- feeling "lazy" when I can't force my brain to finish a task (18 votes)
- Disappointment and frustration with myself (8 votes)
By giving crocheters a sense of usefulness and productivity, accomplishment and satisfaction, crochet is a huge boost to someone's self-esteem. There's no need to feel guilty about "me time" with crochet and every row or round completed can be celebrated as a success.
I hope you found the video and this post helpful, if you did, please do share with your friends and make sure to comment on the video - what's your biggest takeaway from this?
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