Knitting Can Make You Happier and Healthier

When it comes to coping skills, there are things which are considered healthy or unhealthy. Engaging in artistic expression, crafts and other forms of creation are certainly considered healthy when facing depression, anxiety or any other troubling disturbance in mental and emotional wellness. What science is now discovering is that the use of these techniques is helpful for anyone at any time—even when we aren’t in the midst of emotional turmoil or stress. And activities such as knitting can even provide long-term health benefits!

According to The Washington Post, a survey conducted in 2013 showed how 81.5 percent of those who responded said they felt happier and healthier after knitting. But, we all know that we feel better momentarily when doing our preferred relaxation or artistic activities. What do these pastimes do for us in the long run?

One study revealed quite an impact on seniors who practiced knitting, quilting, playing games, computer activities and reading books regularly. It was discovered that 30 to 50 percent of participants were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, a first step to dementia. This response was also seen in animal testing and researchers believe it is because these activities all activate multiple areas of the brain—including those responsible for planning, spatial navigation, visual processing, interpreting meaning and precision of movement.

In another study, women hospitalized for anorexia were given a survey after knitting for 20 minutes to an hour per day. 74 percent reported having less fear or preoccupation with their disorder and others noted feeling pride and a sense of accomplishment. Project Knitwell works with caregivers of all kinds and notes how knitting can be an especially powerful relief for families of premature infants who cannot yet hold their babies.

“Textile therapy” is being studied more and more as we further our understanding of the brain and its functions. The reward center of the brain, responsible for reinforcement of activities ranging from eating, exercise, sex and taking recreational drugs, may play a role in the enjoyment of knitting and other hands-on crafts.

Not only is knitting a powerful tool for managing daily stressors and life’s more significant hardships, it can serve as a preventative measure against future health conditions. Compared to other activities, it’s also affordable for many people and just about anybody can learn. To get started with learning how to knit, here are some resources and fun patterns. It’s time knitting becomes less of an aged stereotype and more of a daily health practice!

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211 comments

Karen F.
Karen F.2 months ago

Haha Jennifer H., love your comment about if you were close to the edge and someone putting knitting needles in your hands you would definitely go over! I witnessed a very strange phenomenon once - I was about 20 at the time and my sis who was 2 years younger and I were in the bedroom with a VERY strange friend of mine who always claimed to have paranormal powers - anyhow, my sis who is a fairly rational person, suddenly picked up a knitting needle and stuck it in her ear! It was horrifying, she has hearing loss in that ear now, luckily she didn't puncture her eardrum or worse. Freaky!

Karen F.
Karen F.2 months ago

Haha Tanya Seaman, I think the lady doth protest too much. Never addicted to anything, hey? Love your tongue in cheek post.

Elaine W.
Elaine W.2 months ago

This knitting works for me as long as I don't drop too many stitches and catch it sooner than later.

Veronica Danie
Veronica Danie2 months ago

Thank You!

William C.
William C.2 months ago

Thank you.

Hadley R.
Hadley R.2 months ago

thanks

Janine F.
Janine F.3 months ago

Thanks I'm of to find my needles.

Denise D.
Denise D.3 months ago

Knitting and crocheting have been my go-to stress-busters for years. Tanya Seaman, your comment is too funny!!! Thanks, Katie for posting this article with all the great links to patterns and resources!

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jen S.
Jen S.3 months ago

I have knitted since I was five. I did other things, too, riding competitively, painting, reading obsessively...but knitting gave me space in a dysfunctional family, another artistic medium. With it so popular, it gives me connections to people outside the university where I teach, people not wearing riding boots, people not at the dog park or obedience class. I am a classic type A personality and knitting works well as mitigation. I may never achieve total bliss but casting on a new Alice Starmore fair isle certainly approaches it.