How to Relieve Stress & Anxiety With Crochet
Did you know that yarn crafting is considered a great way to relieve stress & anxiety? It’s true! The repetitive motions & zen-like state that you get into when you’re working on a project are proven stress-relieving techniques. You might also be surprised to uncover some other great benefits!
Yarn crafting can not only be a stress buster but can also provide symptom relief for mental health conditions. As well as reduce flare-ups in chronic pain patients. You don’t need to be a master crafter to reap the rewards that yarn crafting offers. Simply learning some basic stitches can put you on the path towards wellness.
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Relieve Stress & Anxiety, Reap the Health Benefits
In our busy world with so many things clamoring for our attention at once, it can feel nearly impossible to turn off our brains. I know that even the best self-care list out there doesn’t help me relieve stress & anxiety the way that crochet can. I know that when I was going through my two miscarriages in 2016, crochet was really the only thing that helped.
It made sense to me, it gave me something to focus on, it calmed my thoughts and brought me to a place where I could process and figure out my emotions. Yarn crafting is a proven mindfulness technique used by millions.
Mindfulness crafting includes:
- Focusing on each stitch as you make it. Noticing where your hook (or needles) are in the yarn, and concentrating on what comes next.
- Paying attention to your breathing, including breathing techniques to match the pace that you are stitching.
- Counting stitches, rows, and paying attention to your place in a pattern.
Body aches, tension headaches, restlessness, heart conditions, skin conditions, and definitely mental health issues can all be affected in a good way as you focus on your yarn crafting.
The Mental Health Benefits Of Knitting And Crochet
Speaking of mental health issues, I am a huge advocate of keeping yourself as mentally healthy as you keep physically healthy. I have found that when I focus on my mental health first, the rest of my overall state of health improves drastically. A key factor in my improving my mental health has been crochet. (And lots of therapy!)
Crochet and knitting can help people dealing with a range of mental health challenges. Yarn crafting is a great self-care practice for alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression.
The list of mindfulness techniques listed above helps to regulate your breathing, bring your restless thoughts down, and helps soothe the panic of an anxiety episode.
These practices also help to interrupt the rumination of the mind, which is a key component in depression. The person suffering from depression tends to focus on the negative thoughts, which reinforces the condition. Breaking that cycle is huge in lifting the mood, and pulling out of the depressed state.
Crochet Releases Serotonin
It’s been found that the rhythmic and repetitive motions of yarn crafting, through either crochet or knitting, help release serotonin in the brain. It’s fantastic as a stress-relieving technique! Another key way that crochet can help relieve stress & anxiety is by helping the depressed person feel useful and needed.
Depression can make small everyday tasks like taking a shower or fixing a meal seem herculean in nature. But the small steps it takes to complete a crochet project are entirely doable!
The depressed person can create beautiful and functional pieces to share with those they love. Doing this increases a sense of usefulness and ableness that is self-perpetuating in a positive way. Receiving praise and appreciation for the crafted item helps to boost self-esteem which can help ease the depression symptoms as well.
In some cases, people who have become unable to work due to chronic mental illness are able to earn a small income through making and selling their handmade items.
There are additional benefits for people struggling with other mental health challenges. For example, people who live with OCD use crochet to interrupt their cycles so that they don’t have to do their compulsions. People with Dissociative Identity Disorder talk about the grounding effect that helps them stay in their bodies.
Stress-Relieving Techniques for Grief
Grief is not necessarily a mental health challenge, but it does manifest in a lot of the same ways. Unfortunately experiencing grief is something we will all navigate at some point or another in our lives. I know that for me, grief and depression have gone hand in hand many times.
Going through the loss of someone close to you, or mourning any loss in general, can feel incredibly isolating. You don’t know how to reach out to anyone, and it can really make things worse.
When I was dealing with the loss of my babies, crochet was my lifeline. I was able to focus on the projects I was creating and stay in communication with people. When I contacted my customer about their project, crochet gave us something to talk about.
I wasn’t ready to discuss the grief with anyone else yet. But I was entirely capable of discussing something fun and artistic. Crochet literally saved my life during my darkest moments.
Chronic Pain & Crochet
Many of the same ways crochet helps relieve stress & anxiety for people with depression translate to individuals suffering from chronic pain. People with limited functionality can create small useful items to momentarily push the pain aside.
Focusing their attention on the details of the crochet or knit project puts the pain in the background. It focuses the attention on something else for a while. It’s a good pain management technique that can be used instead of pain medication in some instances. The serotonin release can act as a natural painkiller, reducing the need for prescription drugs.
It’s also something that pregnant women who are on bed rest have been known to do. To relieve the stress & anxiety of the pregnancy complications, they can reach for their hooks and yarn (or needles) and focus on creating a blanket or hat for their new little one. Or gives them a chance to donate crochet items to a charity or organization.
Crochet and knitting can be extremely beneficial activities to help relieve stress & anxiety. While there are other stress-relieving techniques out there, this one is very popular. Yarn crafting can:
- Ease symptoms of depression by creating items for friends and family
- Become a mindfulness technique to bring you out of an anxiety attack
- Release serotonin in the brain that can act as a natural painkiller
- Be a good distraction for pregnant women on bed rest
- Helps ease symptoms of other mental illnesses like OCD and DID
Picking up a hook and yarn is beneficial in so many ways. It’s my hope that if you’re looking to relieve your stress & anxiety you will come here to learn about this fun craft and reap the benefits of this stress-relieving technique.
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