*originally published February 6, 2020
Whether you are a photographer, quilter, ceramicist, knitter or painter, there’s a set of positive feelings many of us have when we are creating something.
How do YOU feel when you are making things by hand? Generally, making something by hand is satisfying and a nice break from screens, dinner dishes, laundry, errands and more.
I’ve been reading about the mental health benefits of crafting for quite awhile. It started when I got curious about scientific or statistical data that backs up why I feel better when I knit, crochet, spin, weave, paint, etc.
And it turns out, there is. The reward centre in our brain releases dopamine when you do something pleasurable. Dopamine is really a natural antidepressant - a non-medicinal way of stimulating that reward centre. And since most of us consider the act of creating something with our hands pleasurable, we get a nice hit of that natural antidepressant every time we take up our craft.
I recently read about a study of more than 3,500 knitters published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, which said that 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling "very happy." I think this is worth sitting up and taking notice of.
Let’s fill ourselves up with dopamine from making stuff by hand! I’m working on a whole slate of workshops and a roster of incredible artists and makers to help you do just that. Look for fun and 'outside the box' learning opportunities coming soon to my website.
Now get off your screen and go make something.
- Carmen xo
P.S. if you want to know more about the links between art/craft and mental health, this article as well as this one and this group are super interesting.
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