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

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.

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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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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