Whoever said crochet is for sissies has been seriously misled. Not only is it a beautiful form of art steeped in tradition which requires patience and perseverance, but is incredible for your health as well. There are no less than 15 powerful and completely legitimate ways that crochet and knit benefit your health which we will outline here. So the next time you’re feeling guilty about taking time to create, think of these top 5 crochet health benefits and remind yourself that you are doing some important self care with each stitch you make.
1) RELIEVES DEPRESSION & BUILDS SELF-ESTEEM
Dopamine. Yum. Our brains release dopamine when we do something we like. Dopamine is our natural anti-depressant. There’s studied evidence that supports crafting’s dopamine effect. In a study of more than 3,500 knitters, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than 50% reported feeling VERY happy.
Whether it’s a temporary illness or a mental block, there are so many things that can leave us feeling worthless and forgotten. Creating something beautiful and functional with your hands is extremely rewarding. Giving gifts and making others feel loved has been proven to boost our own sense of happiness and joy. So whether you experience the pride of crocheting yourself a beautiful sweater, or the love of being able to gift a handmade blanket, crochet has the power of lifting your soul out of the darkness.
2) REDUCES STRESS & ANXIETY AND PROMOTES RELAXATION
The repetitive nature of crochet helps your mind focus on the task at hand, slowing the nervous system. As the nervous system slows, so does the release of the stress hormone – cortisol. So not only is crochet a productive and positive distraction from anxiety producing thoughts, your physical body is also experiencing relief from stress producing hormones.
The repetition of stitching is soothing and meditative. This calms your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep. Crocheters and knitters often describe how they can lose themselves for hours in a project and not realize how much time has gone by. So the next time you find yourself laying awake in bed with your mind racing 100 miles per hour, find a comfy chair, a warm blanket and stitch.
3) REDUCES AND POSTPONES ALZHEIMER’S & DEMENTIA
Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or prevent memory loss. Crochet Therapy is being used with elderly struggling with onset Dementia and has become a highly researched, proven and accepted form of therapy for those struggling loss of cognitive functioning.
4) BUILDS COMMUNITY
As humans, we are designed to be in relationship with others. Meaningful relationships are a critical factor to our mental well-being. It is common for yarn shops to host crochet and knitting groups where all are welcome. Just bring the project you’re currently working on and stitch with others who you instantly have something in common with. For those who don’t have easy access to local groups, the online fiber arts community is huge. Social media groups are searchable with the click of a button and you’re instantly connected with thousands of other people who also love crochet and knit.
5) PROVIDES A POSITIVE DISTRACTION
Our nervous system is only capable of processing a certain amount of information at a time. This is why you can’t process two people talking to you at once. So when you start creating, your awareness outside that activity becomes temporarily halted. The benefits of finding a positive distraction reach in so many directions for both the body and mind.
Grief, for example, is something we all experience at one point or another. It can feel like an impossible weight and can consume our thoughts. Chronic pain is another one that is almost impossible to ignore. Mindless eating and other unhealthy coping mechanisms are so easy to turn to when we are desperate for something to distract us from physical and mental pain. So using your hands and mind to create through crochet, causes your thoughts to drift away from fixation on things that you desperately need a break from.
These top 5 crochet health benefits are just the beginning of a laundry list of physical and mental health benefits this incredible craft provides. Among the others are:
- Keeps hands & fingers strong and nimble
- Improves fine motor skills
- Is used as a form of group therapy
- Is used as a form of tactile therapy
- Is used as a form of color therapy
- Helps with Insomnia
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces irritability and restlessness
- Can be used in conjunction with prayer
- Helps with grief processing
In the days of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter remedies for EVERYTHING, the realities of the health benefits of crochet and knit are empowering and encouraging. And now, the next time someone gives you a hard time for all the hours you spend crafting with fiber, you will have these top 5 crochet health benefits facts in your defense arsenal. Go forth and make – knowing you are doing a good thing for your body.
Ready to start boosting your health? Here are a few of my most beginner friendly crochet patterns: