Home Mental Health & Well-Being Craft Therapy: Why Making Things Is Good for You

Craft Therapy: Why Making Things Is Good for You

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Whether you’re decorating your home, making a gift for someone special, or upcycling clothes, crafting is a popular pastime to make unique items that could also save you money. From the older generations to the younger, crafting can be extremely rewarding.

In the UK, we are facing huge public health challenges, and mental health accounts for more than 20% of these challenges. That’s more than cardiovascular disease and cancer. But arts and crafts play an important role in helping with this by promoting well-being and creating long-lasting social connections. Research has shown that getting crafty is a great way to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and even dementia.

Why crafting is good for your mental health

  • Creating a sense of community. Participation in arts programmes enables individuals to rebuild social ties, fostering a sense of community support. A prime example of this is the use of crafts in care homes, where arts activities enhance social interactions among residents and staff, positively impacting mood and overall well-being.
  • Allows further self-expression and understanding. In today’s climate, artists harness their craft for self-empowerment, using it as a unique form of therapy to articulate their perspectives on the world. Each stitch becomes a tapestry of emotions, a profound expression that personally benefits the creator and enriches the community by addressing topics not commonly encountered daily.
  • Stress relief. Complete immersion in your current project redirects your mind from negativity, fosters positive attitudes, and eases stress. Crafting, whether that be hand-stitching, knitting, or beading, becomes a meditative practice, calming individuals through a rhythmic focus on each step and effectively reducing stress.
  • Confidence and enhanced self-esteem. Completing a project triggers a sense of accomplishment, releasing dopamine for a happier mindset. Embracing learning opportunities for challenging tasks enhances this feeling. Amid life’s uncertainties, engaging in a small art project or simple task fosters a sense of control, contributing to improved mental health and mood.
  • Increases brain activity and cognition. The induced dopamine release fosters a serene mindset while stimulating neuron growth for enhanced focus and learning. Improved cognition and recognition, vital for psychological health, result from the mental processing required to master new skills. Engaging in activities like knitting or crocheting can be beneficial for those dealing with dementia, counteracting age-related cognitive decline.
  • Boosts empathy. Collaborating with fellow artists enhances critical thinking and empathy, which is evident in group projects and exhibitions that foster passion and debate.

Craftiest cities in the UK

As previously mentioned, being part of a community, socialising, and building positive relationships are integral to boosting mental health and wellbeing. Thankfully, a surge of crafty clubs has been sweeping up and down the country. But following this surge, where can we now find the nation’s craftiest cities to get involved in this new craze?

According to a report, the top most crafty cities in the nation are:

  1. London
  2. Leicester
  3. Brighton
  4. Walsall
  5. Newcastle

It’s important to note that even if there isn’t a club in your local area, doing crafts with your friends and family could be a great way to socialise and bring you closer together.

How to get started in crafts

There are plenty of new skills and techniques that you can start with and pick up. According to one report, the most popular craft activities in the UK include crocheting (31.1%), knitting (19.1%), sewing (17.9%), fabrics (12.4%), pottery (12.1%), and art (7.3%).

But where to start? Thankfully, there is plenty of material available to help us get going with our learning of all these new skills. Whether that be free material via YouTube, a book from your local library, or free classes, there are plenty of options available. With a vast range of materials and fabrics available at our fingertips, we can all delve into creating something from scratch or jazz up our preloved goods.

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