At Dadesley Crafting we believe that everybody is a creative soul and creativity is good for our wellbeing. Many people find crafting soothing, relaxing and meditative. Hours can go by as we are engrossed in our favourite crafts, and we forget our stresses for a little while.
Much of this is related to the repetitive movements of crafting activity which can lower blood pressure and boost serotonin which helps us manage anxiety and improve our mood. According to research by ‘Paintings in Hospital’ (www.paintingsinhospitals.org.uk), an organisation which promotes art and crafts in hospitals and care homes, craft such as knitting is as relaxing as yoga, distracts from chronic pain, boosts mental wellbeing, lowers blood pressure and keeps the mind sharp. In craft groups environments, it was also found to help reduce loneliness and isolation’.
The Craft Council UK (www.craftscouncil.org.uk) similarly reports four ways in which crafting is good for our health. Firstly, they state that engaging with arts and crafts is good for our mental wellbeing: ‘The arts are linked with dopamine release, which encourages cognitive flexibility, and they reduce our risk of dementia.’
When we do craft activities together it seems that this effect is infectious! Crafting gives us something to talk about, but from that, general chit-chat happens, laughter happens, and it is easier to get to know each other. The British Journal of General Practice is currently researching this and states that ‘(craft) engagement can lead to people learning different ways to relate to other people, becoming open to the possibility of new futures and developing a positive outlook’.
Secondly, craft helps us manage anxiety. The gentle repetitive movements of craft and the deep concentration, helps to dampen down activity in the amygdala area of the brain. This is the area involved in responding to triggers in our environment which spark emotions such as fear, aggression and sadness. Crafting also involves feelings of satisfaction and pride and is an excellent distraction from worrying thoughts.
Thirdly, crafting brings people together. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge surge in interest in crafting as people searched for ways to get through the long months of lockdown. Since we have been able to get together again, there has been much interest in craft groups, to learn alongside each other and to combat the isolation we all felt at that time. Crafting is also good for bringing people together who might not ever meet if it wasn’t for a common interest.
Recently a member told us that the confidence she had developed from doing the craft classes had helped her to get a job after years of feeling too anxious to be at work. Making things can help us develop concentration and focus and the patience and determination to overcome things we might struggle with.
Finally, crafting is good for our brain! Crafting involves concentration, problem solving and achievement. It’s also the case that crafting is linked to memory. The Craft Council’s research showed that crafting was helpful for people living with the effect of stroke and dementia and can reduce our risk of developing dementia.
So folks, do your health and wellbeing a big favour and do some crafting!
Dadesley Crafting CIC
Bringing people together, improving mental health and wellbeing and combatting loneliness through crafting. Join regular craft fairs and crafty sessions in Tickhill and Balby.