For the good of my health

NYTimes Blogs: The Health Benefits of Knitting

Last April, the council created a “Stitch Away Stress” campaign in honor of National Stress Awareness Month. Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind/body medicine and author of “The Relaxation Response,” says that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

But unlike meditation, craft activities result in tangible and often useful products that can enhance self-esteem. I keep photos of my singular accomplishments on my cellphone to boost my spirits when needed.

A friend of mine linked this article to my Facebook feed and another friend sent the link to me via Skype messenger. “This made me think of you.” I’m not surprised — a lot of it resonates with me.

My history with crafting goes back a long time, but we could argue it officially started in 2007, when, under-employed and looking at newspaper jobs in the South, a friend of mine suggested I make my own jewelry to wear on job interviews. Beading and decoupage gave way to knitting and doll making a few years later, after I’d moved to Chicago and — going to school, going to therapy, and under-employed yet again — needed something to do with my hands in between classes and on long train commutes.

The routine of conceptualizing and making something, the sense of accomplishment and reward when a project is finished — these are things that kept me going through some really bad times (and kept me alive until the good times arrived).

~ by blackmoodcraft on February 2, 2016.

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