The Jury has returned, Knitting is Good for You! The therapeutic benefits of knitting have long been known to ardent fans of this ancient craft but recently research has been undertaken which has given a resounding thumbs up to knitting, with the conclusion that it is very good for you.
A recent study undertaken at Otago University, New Zealand produced evidence of the mental health benefits of knitting and crocheting.658 students were asked to keep diaries of their experiences and emotional states over 13 days.
Dr Tamlin Connor, the study’s lead author, said: “There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning. “However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional well-being. Engaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day. Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”
The study, which was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, found that the students showed more enthusiasm and “flourishing” – a mental health term describing happiness and meaning – in the days following creative activities.
Other studies have also shown knitting to be beneficial for those suffering from physical pain as well as depression and stress.For those who are lucky enough to be fit, healthy and happy it is not only a great way to relax and be constructive but the action of knitting, the mental and physical co-ordination involved, is an excellent way to stimulate your brain and protect against cognitive decline and possibly even dementia as you age.
For people suffering from pain it is surprising what help knitting can be. Amongst other benefits it helps to relax you and take the focus off the pain as you concentrate on the task in hand.The sense of achievement helps with confidence and the distraction it affords is one of the best analgesics.
For those suffering from depression it can be a great confidence booster and help you to move from negative to positive thoughts.It can distract you from unpleasant thoughts and help to give you a sense of achievement and purpose along with something to enjoy and look forward to.
Knitting is good for the brain as it involves many skills.It is necessary to calculate, memorize and use a lot of hand to eye co-ordination. For people who live alone it can help to reduce the feelings of loneliness and again give you a sense of purpose.
The concentration necessary can be very relaxing, particularly if you are of a rather nervous or agitated disposition.
These are just a few examples of the therapeutic benefits of knitting but they are in fact many fold and I am sure you can all add your own benefits to this list.