Health Benefits of Being a Hooker
Hooking and knitting may be adding more positives to your life than just beautiful craft pieces, it may also be benefitting your brain, body and mood as well! Crafting is often compared to meditation, however when you're done a crafting project you get a beautiful end result and not a sore bum from sitting for hours cross-legged on your floor trying to be zen. The finished project you created whether it be a rug, a pair of socks, anything, creates a sense of pride and accomplishment and boosts your self esteem. Crafting in a social group can also create a feeling of belonging and help you build social connections that in turn make you feel more confident with yourself. And, you will most likely make some good friends that share your obsession with wool.
Physically, hooking and knitting has great effects. It can lower your heart rate, and greatly reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.The repetitive motions of hooking activates the parasympathetic nervous system and quiets your fight or flight response. People who create things to cope with stress have less of an inflammatory response to their stressors! Just make sure to bring your project with you to any of those infamous family get togethers. Textile crafts also make it harder for your brain to register pain signals, because of the coordinated movements you use while hooking or knitting, this is a great non-pharmaceutical approach for people who suffer from chronic pain. Pick up a hook, put down the Advil!! It also improves your fine motor skills and will help keep your fingers nimble and quick. Some people even find that hooking or knitting helps to keep weight off, when you're creating something lovely you don't have free hands to mindlessly eat snacks all day. If you can snack and hook at the same time then you're truly a phenomenal multi-tasker.
As for that big beautiful brain of yours, you can bet it's receiving some love while you're crafting. Hooking and knitting (well just textile arts in general) may help stave off declining brain function because it promotes the development of neural pathways, meaning your brain learning and growing and not turning into an old potato. Crafting works many areas of the brain; memory and attention span, involves visuospatial processing, your creative side as well as enhances problem solving abilities. It could reduce your chances of one day suffering from a mild cognitive impairment by 30-50%.
Now, mood, definitely takes the cake for positive betterment. Hooking can provide a task that helps you cope with your stress, and order in times that are hectic. It can give you a vacation from any mental turmoil, as well as curb anxiety attacks (all that coordinated movement is using up too much of your brains capacity to allow it to freak out). The repetitive motions of hooking are therapeutic and calming. When you are doing a task you enjoy your brain releases dopamine, a naturally antidepressant, and will consequently improve symptoms of depression. Learning a skill and seeing the results of your labour is also a way of reinforcing the reward system in your brain, and is good for mood repair. Creating something is also when you will experience flow: a few moments in time when you're completely absorbed in what you're doing that your existence outside of that activity becomes suspended. This term was coined by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentimihaly, who says that flow is the key to happiness. Apparently flow is also a way to regulate strong emotions, controlling anger and irrational thoughts. Hooking can improve yours self-efficacy too, meaning you'll feel better about performing certain tasks and taking on new challenges outside of our comfort zones. A strong sense of self-efficacy is important in dealing with disappointment and our approach to life's challenges. You heard it folks, just keep on hooking and all will be well. You'll be happy, healthy and your brain will be in tip top shape.
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- emily dunne