Crochet is the Ultimate Tool For Your Mental Well-Being
Crochet is a wonderful hobby, and one that’s surprisingly easy to get started with. However, did you know that as well as being a fun and useful craft, it’s also excellent for your mental well-being? It offers so many useful benefits… Let’s cover some of them!
Before we get into the mental health side of crochet, let’s look at the cognitive side. Crochet requires a lot of skills that you wouldn’t usually use, and as such, you develop new brain pathways! The brain is a fascinating organism, and the more you use certain areas of it, the more connections it makes to those parts of the brain. But one of the coolest things about this process, is that the new connections aren’t exclusive to the skills that caused them to develop.
When the brain makes a new pathway (for example, remembering how to hold the yarn), it doesn’t reserve the use of that pathway for when you’re actually holding yarn. It allows other thoughts to use the new, quicker pathway between the different areas of the brain. Thus, you might find that your other tactile skills also start improving. The more crochet you do, the more pathways you’ll form, and you’ll also strengthen existing pathways. So your cognition will become more effective, and you may find that you become faster at many tasks.
Crochet requires so many different skills, and so you’ll be activating multiple areas of your brain. You need spatial awareness to concentrate on where to put your new stitches. You need patience if you’re working on a repetitive project. You use your maths skills to count stitches for a pattern. You need good control over your hands to move the yarn and hook smoothly. Crochet involves doing all of these things simultaneously, and whilst it’s easy once you know how, it’s also a good workout for your brain!
Crocheting is also proven to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 50%. This is because cognitive exercises help strengthen the mind, and means you’ll have more brain pathways. Alzheimer’s erodes those pathways, but if you have more of them to begin with, then it’s harder for the disease to take root.
Relaxation and Reflection
Throughout the course of a day, our bodies go through a lot, but so too do our minds. When you do vigorous exercise, you do a cooldown afterwards, but often we forget to give our minds a chance to slow down after a busy day. Crochet is a great way to allow our minds to get that relaxation we crave, without shutting down completely.
The type of crochet is important here. If you’re working on a complicated pattern, it can offer many benefits that we’ll discuss later, however it might not be particularly relaxing as it may require a lot of focus. However, there are many wonderfully easy crochet projects that will allow you to just sit back and stitch for a while. This is an excellent way to allow our brain to wind down from a stressful day.
Crochet can also offer you a great opportunity to reflect. Again, you’ll need to be following a simple pattern that doesn’t require much counting, as your brain needs to be able to wander a little. However, if you have the right project, then you can allow your hands to do the work whilst you spend some time reflecting on yourself. Ask yourself about what fulfills you, and whether you’re following your goals. Think about whether there’s anything in your life that you’d like to improve. Self-growth, however slow, is a key part of your mental well-being, so taking some time to think about the areas that you’d like to grow in is crucial to a healthy mind.
Crochet is a wonderful craft because it’s a step by step process that is entirely dependent on the work that you put in. Projects grow stitch by stitch, and it can feel very rewarding to see all your hard work slowly paying off. Many other crafts rely on starting with partially completed objects, for example, a large piece of fabric if you’re sewing an item of clothing, or decorative paper if you’re scrapbooking. This doesn’t diminish the skill needed to complete them, but it does mean that you’re not starting completely from scratch.
However, with crochet, you’re responsible for every single stitch that you put into a project. You don’t start with any base, or a partially started project that you need to add to. All you have is a skein of yarn and a hook, and it’s your duty to turn that into something beautiful. Doing so gives you a great sense of accomplishment, and it releases serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone in your brain.
It’s an important boost for your self-esteem, and seeing a completed project is a physical reminder of your self-worth. Of course, everybody is worthy independent of their accomplishments, but it’s still hardwired into our brains to associate pride with self-esteem, and so by crocheting beautiful items, we can remind ourselves of what we’re capable of.
Fight Mental Disorders
Crochet is an excellent tool for people with healthy minds, but it has even more benefits for people who struggle with mental disorders. People suffering from depression can find that crocheting helps to ease their symptoms. This is because crochet can release dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel happy. Crochet is also great at relieving anxiety, as it keeps the brain and hands occupied, and can help take your mind off of your worries.
It’s also useful for those who struggle with insomnia, the inability to sleep. Crochet can sometimes be repetitive in nature, and that helps to lull the mind into a sense of calmness. If you have insomnia, try to pick a simple, easy crochet project that will allow you to drift off and soothe yourself. Crocheting at night has been proven to help people sleep better, and it’s great as you can enjoy yourself without becoming overstimulated.
A Superb Mental Tool
So, there you have it! Crochet is good for improving your cognitive skills, helping your mind relax, increasing your self-esteem, and fighting mental disorders! It’s a one size fits all trick to help keep your mental well-being in check. If you’ve never tried crochet, why not give it a go? And if you’re already a seasoned crocheter, now you know about all the excellent benefits you reap with your hobby!