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Depressed, Anxious or In Pain? Crafting May Be the Answer

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Depressed, Anxious or In Pain? Crafting May Be the Answer

Everyone will go through a tough time at some point in their lives. Maybe it is the passing of a loved one or the accumulation of life’s stresses. In some cases, you may simply be prone to feelings of depression or anxiety, or suffer from a medical condition with chronic pain. While the help of a medical professional is always wise, you may be able to do more to help yourself.

How Crafting Helps

People who craft experience a variety of benefits from their hobby. It can ease stress, and increase feelings of happiness. Some studies suggest it can even help the brain combat damage caused by regular ageing.

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Though most studies focus on the completion of puzzles, the cognitive benefits of completing a Sudoku puzzle may also apply to crafts, such as working through a complex knitting pattern. If the craft has a repetitive component, some may experience benefits similar to that of moving meditations commonly attributed to reaching a state of flow.

As human beings, we can only focus on, and process, a certain amount of information at a time. By choosing to busy our minds with crafts, we can prevent other feelings from being as apparent. It can calm the fight or flight response, an action of the parasympathetic nervous system, and aids in the regulation of emotion.

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Choosing a Hobby

There are a wide variety of crafts that can illicit the same benefits. Knitting, quilting, crocheting, and cross-stitching are classic choices. You can explore painting or pottery. Jewellery making may be an appealing choice. Gardening and flower arranging can go hand-in-hand, as well as nature photography.

The idea is to find an activity that you can enjoy, even if it takes a bit of work to get the hang of it. It may seem strange at first, or even a bit frustrating, but improving over time can bring benefits of its own. A sense of growth and accomplishment can have a positive effect on your mental state.

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Elevate the Experience

You can elevate the entire crafting experience, starting with material selection. For example, choosing the yarn for a knitting project can be enjoyable. Focus on how the different options feel in your hand. Look at the colours, and note which ones truly draw the eye. Examine a pattern, and imagine how someone you know would feel if you presented it as a gift. Or picture how you will enjoy it personally once it is complete.

Join a Community

As you become comfortable with your hobby, consider joining a class or community focused on you chosen craft. This allows you to be social while focusing on an activity you enjoy. The hobby acts as an icebreaker. Conversation can flow naturally based on the shared enjoyment of a particular activity. You can enjoy the company of those who can help you learn new techniques.

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Spending time with positive people can help you feel more positive. Sharing a laugh with friends can reduce stress. Over time, you will build a network of people you can spend time with regularly, and you may build friendships that exist outside of the class or craft community.

Start Small

Many craft-based hobbies can be started for very little money. If you try drawing, and you don’t find it enjoyable, you can always switch to another craft, like knitting. Give yourself some time to explore options and see what truly has your interest. After a while, you may find yourself looking forward to your crafting time, and feeling better in general.

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Make it Part of a Larger Plan

Integrate your crafting into a larger treatment plan. Work with your doctor, or other medical professional, and see how your new hobby can be a part of moving your life forward. In time, you may both be pleasantly surprised by your results.

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