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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 December 2, 2019

              10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

              10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

              Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

              In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

              These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

              1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

              Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

              But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

              Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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              2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

              You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

              The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

              3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

              If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

              Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

              If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

              4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

              Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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              To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

              In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

              5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

              We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

              If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

              Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

              “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

              6. Give for the Joy of Giving

              When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

              One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

              So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

              7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

              Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

              Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

              8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

              When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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              So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

              9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

              Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

              It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

              It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

              10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

              There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

              But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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              Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

              More About Living a Fulfilling Life

              Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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