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6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

Learning how to knit might not be at the top of your fall to-do list, but it should be. Not just for your grandmother anymore, knitting has a wide variety of benefits beyond having something comfy to wear/snuggle/give away at the end of the process.

Plus, you don’t have to use that scratchy wool yarn. There are plenty of really soft brands of yarn that you can use.

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1. It gives you a sense of pride

knitting1
    Tony & Wayne

    Not a lot of people know how to knit. Showing off something you’ve knitted to someone who has no idea how you managed it is like showing off some sort of new magic trick. They’re going to be in awe of your newly acquired witchcraft and you’ll receive a ton of compliments (plus requests for scarves, but you can handle that however you want).

    2. It has the same benefits of meditation

    knitting2
      Eliza

      Once you figure out what you’re doing, knitting can be very relaxing. Simple knitting projects are usually the same few stitches over and over, so you can zone out and use your muscle memory to get the job done. The rhythmic, repetitive motion and relaxation has the same benefits to your mind and body as a meditation session, except you get a blanket at the end.

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      3. It alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression

      knitting3
        RedLipstick

        The rhythmic motions and sense of focus can help distract from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Sitting still to knit reduces your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure after a few minutes, so reaching for those knitting needles when you start to feel anxiety build or depression seeping in can help keep those symptoms at bay.

        4. It helps improve motor functions

        knitting
          eef Ink

          Because knitting stimulates almost the whole brain at once—”the frontal lobe (which guides rewards processing, attention and planning), the parietal lobe (which handles sensory information and spatial navigation), the occipital lobe (which processes visual information), the temporal lobe (which is involved in storing memories and interpreting language and meaning) and the cerebellum (which coordinates precision and timing of movement)”—it can be used to help people with diseases like Parkinson’s improve their motor functions. It both helps improve their fine motor skills and distracts from other painful symptoms.

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          5. It slows cognitive decline

          knitting5
            poppy

            While it’s helping improve your motor function and mood, knitting is also stimulating your brain to keep it healthy. The more you use your brain, the healthier it becomes, and the longer it lasts. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in crafts (including knitting) are about 30-50% less likely to have a “mild cognitive impairment” than those who don’t.

            6. It helps prevent arthritis and tendinitis

            knitting6
              Madelinetosh

              Just like you have to use your brain to keep it healthy, you have to use your joints to keep them healthy as well. According to Dr. Barron, gently using your fingers builds up their cartilage, making it stronger, instead of wearing it down. Knitting is better for this than typing, which doesn’t put quite enough strain on your fingers, but it isn’t so strenuous that you’ll have other problems down the road. Already have arthritis? Dr. Barron recommends soaking your hands in some warm water and using larger needles to create your masterpieces.

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              Now that you know all about the health benefits of knitting, head over to your local craft store to pick up some supplies. Some of them have free or cheap classes for beginners, so ask around! If you can’t find classes, the great resource that taught me how to knit was tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest. Trust me—once you get the hang of knitting, you won’t want to stop.

              Featured photo credit: apicturebookmind via flic.kr

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              Kathryn Harper

              Media Relations Manager

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              Last Updated on July 10, 2020

              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

              We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

              We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

              So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

              Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

              What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

              Boundaries are limits

              —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

              Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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              Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

              Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

              Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

              How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

              Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

              1. Self-Awareness Comes First

              Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

              You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

              To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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              You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

              • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
              • When do you feel disrespected?
              • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
              • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
              • When do you want to be alone?
              • How much space do you need?

              You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

              2. Clear Communication Is Essential

              Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

              Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

              3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

              Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

              That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

              Sample language:

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              • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
              • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
              • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
              • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
              • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
              • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
              • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

              Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

              4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

              Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

              Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

              Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

              We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

              It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

              It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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              Final Thoughts

              Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

              Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

              Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

              The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

              Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

              Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

              They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

              Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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