Sewing, cross-stitching, scrapbooking, or whichever other crafts for mental health you practice make you happy, right? Well, scientists made a lot of research into the subject and they determined that crafting as a hobby does not merely raise the level of your subjective happiness.
It affects your mental health on multiple levels and helps effectively fight conditions like depression and anxiety. It turns out that having a hobby can be even more effective than taking antidepressants. And there are many special benefits if your hobbies lie in the “handcrafting” category.
Crafts For Mental Health; The Surprising Scientific Reasons It Actually Works
How Having a Hobby Improves Your Mental Health (According to Science)
Having a hobby improves your mental and physical wellbeing. These are not mere words but a fact proven by studies. One of them, led by Sarah D. Pressman, PhD, showed that people who engaged in leisure activities had lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and better physiological function perception.
It’s interesting to note that they also had a lower BMI and waist circumference. And while this correlation isn’t direct proof of anything, one might think that having a hobby might also help with weight management.
At the very least, the lower cortisol level means that you won’t be at a high risk of stress-eating.
There is another notable study, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing,
which shows that having a hobby means a 30% lower risk of developing depression. Even if one does have the condition, starting a new hobby can reduce the symptoms.
But the most important data from this study is that people suffering from depression who take up a new hobby have a 272% higher chance of recovery. That’s how important a hobby is for your mental health.
But of course, we can’t forget the truly ground-breaking study led by Tiffany F. Hughes. This particular study managed to prove that having a hobby and engaging in this activity for about an hour daily lowers the risk of developing dementia.
This can also increase your cognitive ability and functionality when you age. Not to mention this might impact longevity.
So, hobbies not only improve your mental health. They also have the power to protect you from neurodegenerative diseases and help you live a longer and healthier life.
But does the type of activity you choose as a hobby matter?
What Crafting Does to Your Brain
Studies on the exact effects of crafting aren’t many. But we are getting there and the results are impressive. Right now it’s clearly proven that the process of crafts for mental health can reduce anxiety and even help with PTSD treatment.
The effects of some crafting processes are compared to meditation and cognitive activities, like solving crossword puzzles.
Here’s where we should mention a study from the distant 1960s done by Robert Root-Bernstein, PhD.
It was quite small and focused only on scientists. However, it clearly showed that hobbies that involved imagining and learning from doing were more beneficial.
In this study, the scientists who had these types of hobbies were more successful in their careers. It’s believed that this happened because they practiced and enjoyed recreational activities that had a purpose.
Tangible, Successful Results Are Great For Your Mental Health
This definitely makes sense because one of the main mental benefits of having a hobby is the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. \
And to get that sense you need to have a hobby that allows you to accomplish something. Crafting of any kind is the perfect choice for this because it provides you with tangible results.
So, while there is no such thing as “the best hobby”, because “the best” is different for everyone, but it’s a fact that crafts are among the most beneficial way for us to heal and feel whole again.
It allows you to have an outlet for your emotions and creativity and it also allows you to enter the zen-like state of mind similar to meditation.
This is how these crafts for mental health help reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure.
It also provides you with opportunities for socialization. And as you have something in common with the people you’ll meet through crafting, it will be easier for you to become friends.
The Matter of Money; Why Crafts For Mental Health Are Ideal For You In These Uncertain Times
Making money off your hobby definitely isn’t a priority. In fact, this shouldn’t even be on the list of considerations when choosing an activity.
However, in these difficult times many people are desperate. With the unemployment rate growing worldwide, more and more people become depressed and anxious due to financial stress.
That’s why one can’t deny that handcrafting is a practical and useful hobby. It helps you relieve stress and improve your resilience and mental shields. And the results of practicing it can go up for sale on eBay or Etsy.
Handmade goods of all kinds are very popular today. Therefore, your hobby has a good chance of relieving some of your stress in a very real and practical way by providing you with a small stream of almost passive side income.
How to Find the Right Crafts For Mental Health *for You*?
First of all, remember that there is no “perfect” or “best” when it comes to hobbies. There is only what’s right for you and what isn’t. And you are the only person who should determine that.
The most important consideration when choosing a hobby should be what you enjoy doing.
This activity must bring you actual pleasure, so think about the things you like most. For example, if you love nature and spending time outdoors, you might consider gardening. If you love fashion and clothing, consider design and sewing.
If you love to do something with your hands, here are a few great crafts for mental health ideas:
Every hobby you might choose is equally deserving and good as long as it brings you joy!
Final Considerations When Deciding On Your Crafts For Mental Health
The second consideration is whether you can actually do it. For instance, some people think mountain climbing is a great hobby.
However, if you live in a region with no mountains or climbing centers and don’t have a chance to travel often, you can’t really enjoy it.
Therefore, this hobby won’t be very useful for your mental health. Remember that to reap the benefits you need to engage in the activity frequently which is why crafting is an excellent way to do it.
Those are the only two considerations you really should have when choosing a hobby.
So, you can make two lists. One of the things you like and one of the things you can realistically do. Then, try all the options that match and see what you enjoy most.
About The Author:
Agatha Singer is dedicated to helping people everywhere live well. As a stay at home working Mom, Agatha shares excellent, actionable advice to save your sanity when attempting to make adulting advice as easy to digest as possible on her blog.