Non-knitters often consider knitting monotonous and boring. It’s true that knitting is not a fast-paced hobby like skydiving, but it does have lots of benefits. In fact, many experts are convinced that knitting has therapeutic properties.
Anyone who knits will tell you that knitting is a wonderful remedy for stress. At the end of a tough day, picking up a project can quickly calm one down. It’s those very repetitive movements that those who do not knit consider boring that produce a soothing effect comparable to that of meditation.
In fact, knitting has a lot in common with meditation. In both activities, you focus on one particular thing. When meditating, that thing is your subconscious. When knitting, it’s your stitching. In either case, you’re forced to push your worries, stress, anger and sadness to the side.
The focus required by knitting can help with a number of health issues other than stress. The hidden benefits of knitting include:
Chronic pain – Chronic pain can greatly decrease one’s quality of life. But instead of using dangerous (and often addictive) painkillers as the sole treatment, many pain doctors are encouraging patients to include less conventional therapies in their treatment. Knitting is one activity that can help. The calm state of mind it produces, and the attention it requires, blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.
Brain damage – After a brain injury, doctors seek to restore as much of the brain’s prior function as possible. Complete recovery is not always possible, but certain activities can help patients relearn fine motor skills and cognitive skills. Knitting is one of many possible treatment options. It tends to work well because it incorporates both types of skills into one activity.
Anxiety – Anxiety may be mild, moderate or severe. At any level, knitting can be beneficial. While it probably won’t stop a full-fledged panic attack, knitting can reduce overall stress and divert attention from specific stressors.
Chronic illness – When one is facing a long-term or terminal illness, depression can set in. Those who are bedridden are limited in what they can do, and this can give them too much time to think negative thoughts. Knitting is something they can do that is not physically demanding, yet it takes their minds off of their illness. And the finished project also gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Knitting as therapy may not be the latest medical breakthrough, but it can be helpful in many cases. It’s a relatively easy hobby, and it’s very inexpensive. And it engages the mind in a relaxing way that few other pursuits can.