More than 40 years ago, my grandmother introduced me to knitting. As usual, life got in the way and I didn’t keep up the crafting skill.
Recently, I ran across something she made and felt this desire to keep her spirit alive by learning how to knit again. So less than three weeks ago, I took my first knitting class to remember my grandma and knitting has had a residual effect.
Knitting actually relaxes me.
I told this to my husband and he gave me that "you are crazy" look. So, I put my research cap on and found some interesting health information about crafting and knitting.
According to the Washington Post, "crafters have long recognized the therapeutic value of activities such as knitting and crocheting."
In a recent survey, more than 81.5 percent of international knitters found themselves feeling happier after knitting. The 2013 survey included more than 3,500 knitters from around the globe.
Even medical experts like Sharon Gutman, an occupational therapist at Columbia University in New York stated that "mind-stimulating activities ... have been used by occupational therapists to alleviate symptoms of depression and to help improve motor functions in people with illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease."
Another medical expert, Carrie Barron, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York and co-author of the book "The Creativity Cure: How to Build Happiness With Your Own Two Hands" claims the rhythmic movements of knitting offer many of the same kinds of benefits as meditation.
A recent CNN story revealed the following about knitting and crafting activities:
• One study found that leisure activities such as crafting and reading may protect the brain from aging.
• Experts pointed out that crafting can help those suffering from chronic pain, depression or anxiety.
• Crafting may ease stress.
• Crafting may increase happiness by releasing dopamine.
In my unscientific poll at my knitting class, the women state that they go into a meditative or Zen state while knitting.