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The mental health benefits of knitting

When you think of activities that impact your mental health, the first thoughts to instinctively pop into your mind are of physical exercises, such as walking, running, or playing sports. During these activities, your body releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals. Physical activity can also help you manage weight, which can impact your mental health. However, did you know that there are mental and physical benefits of knitting?

How Knitting Helps with Depression   

So, you may wonder exactly how does knitting help with depression. Here’s the answer:

When you’re knitting, your body releases serotonin — a hormone that impacts your sense of well-being, as well as your mood and overall happiness. Those who suffer from depression tend to have lower levels of serotonin in their blood. Depression medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antimanic agents, alter serotonin levels, and in return, regulate your mood. Knitting increases serotonin naturally in two ways: one via the repetitive motion of the needles and the other through the softness of the yarn. 

While knitting on its own can help decrease your depression, knitting circles are another way to reduce depression. You knit with a group of people. You talk and share helpful hints about knitting and also just chat about life. Having people to associate with who have a similar interest, whether online or in-person, can help with mental illness. 

Knitting Can Help with Anxiety 

When you knit, you could help alleviate anxiety and stress. For the time you’re knitting, you can focus on something besides your problems. The repetitiveness of the motions tends to have a calming effect. An international survey noted a connection between feeling calm and knitting. 

The connection between anxiety relief and knitting may also relate to the increase of serotonin. Low serotonin levels have also been noted in people who have anxiety. 

Knitting’s Connection with a Decrease in Memory Impairments 

You may wonder why is knitting good for your brain. When you think about it, you’re completing a very repetitive task. How could that possibly help with memory impairments?  

According to Marshfield Clinic Health System, knitting may reduce memory concerns and even decrease your risk of memory loss in the future. A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinic Neurosciences focused on mild cognitive impairment that comes with aging. This type of memory loss puts a person at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The study showed that people who knitted had less of a risk for mild cognitive impairment. 

Basically, why is knitting good for your brain revolves around the fact that it stimulates your mind. The motions involved in knitting use your memory and exercise your brain in general. You’ll have no choice but to exercise your mind when you knit. 

Increases Dexterity in Hands 

Dexterity describes the grace and skill that you have working with your hands. As you’re repeatedly moving the knitting needles and must maneuver them in a certain way, This increases the dexterity in your hands as you perform these tasks over and over again. Knitting has even been noted as an activity that’s beneficial to surgeons. 

Increases Cartilage in Hands

Your body has special connective tissue that coats the surface of your joints, known as cartilage This flexible tissue helps the bones moves, but over time, the cartilage can wear down. Fortunately, the process of knitting helps build the cartilage in your fingers. This can prevent or reduce your risk of joint pain in your hands. 

Improves Self-Esteem 

When you discuss the mental and physical benefits of knitting, you must take into account its benefit on self-esteem. As you’re first learning to knit, you have little to no knowledge about the process. Once you learn the basics, you’ll feel proud of yourself and what you learned. Moreover, after you develop skills at knitting and are completing finished products, your self-esteem will increase even further. Just wait until you’re talented enough to give your creations as presents or tackle complicated patterns or items. 

Knitting Can Benefits Children 

It’s possible to teach knitting to a child before you teach them to read. If you really think about it, knitting uses similar skills to reading. You start on one side and work to the other, including as you’re reading the pattern. And knitting is similar to putting together a story. While your child knits, they develop fine motor skills, which they’ll need to write. They look at patterns and are gaining confidence. 

Knitting can provide you — and even a child — with a variety of benefits, both physical and mental. It can help reduce the risk of dementia, specially if you’re wondering how and why is knitting good for your brain. Additionally, it can be beneficial if you struggle with mental health issues, among other benefits.

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