May 13th to May 19th is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, hosted by The Mental Health Foundation – I thought it would be good to share some tips for using crochet as a way to improve mental wellbeing and as a tool for dealing with stress and anxiety.
What is mindfulness?
You might have heard people talking about mindfulness in your office, on the news or even in your weekly crochet group – but what exactly does it mean? Well, its pretty simple, mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment. You don’t need to be spiritual or religious to practise mindfulness and reap its benefits. Its all about you and how you manage yourself, your thoughts and feelings. It’s often seen as a therapeutic device and can improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Why is mindfulness important?
Practising mindfulness has many health benefits including becoming more self-aware and in tune with your emotions, body and surroundings. Providing a greater level of clarity to situations that might get lost in the humdrum of everyday life, mindfulness has been proven to help reduce mental health issues including anxiety and depression. This can impact your personal and professional life, allowing you to develop concentration at work and improve relationships at home. There are many ways to achieve mindfulness, but of course, we’re most interested in how crochet can be used to reach this state of mind.
How can crochet help me achieve mindfulness?
In 2016, a study at Otago University, New Zealand asked 658 students to keep diaries of their emotional state over 13 days. During this period, students demonstrated an increased level of enthusiasm and activity on days when they took part in creative activities such as crochet, knitting, writing and painting. But why? What was it about crafting that caused an uplift in their wellbeing?
When crocheting, both your mind and body are focused on completing a single activity. This focus draws you into the present, the here and now. We’re all prone to allowing our minds to wander – it may be just before you fall asleep, or when taking a shower, you might remember something you forgot at the shop or you need to do at work – the deep level of focus crochet brings allows you to clear these wandering thoughts from your mind, developing a state of inner calm. Repetitive motion in crochet is key to helping us block out troubling thoughts, allowing us to switch to auto-pilot mode and enter an enhanced state of calm, the effects of which are comparative to other wellbeing activities such as yoga.
Take a look at our ‘Why Crochet is Good for you infographic‘ for more ways in which crochet can improve your sense of wellbeing.
Where do I start with Mindful Crochet?
Watch all of my beginner crochet video tutorials to hep get you started – it won’t take long before you are able to relax and enjoy the experience of mindful crocheting.
If you’re not sure where to start on your mindfulness journey, here are 5 top tips for giving this therapeutic technique a go:
- Find somewhere comfortable to work – there’s nothing more distracting than being in a state of physical discomfort. A cosy, quiet space to snuggle down and work is vital.
- Make time – we’re all guilty of letting time run away with us. Whether its 10 minutes or an hour, set yourself a regular time to crochet, otherwise you won’t feel the benefit.
- Be aware of your body – Sit, kneel, stand or lie however you like, but make sure you can stay in a stable position for as long as your session will last to eliminate any distractions.
- Take it slow – There’s no rush. Take your time and focus your attention on each stitch. Start your crochet with a long foundation and count each chain slowly as you go.
- Keep your mind in check – your mind is bound to wander, but don’t let it go to far. If you feel your focus drifting, undo your last couple of stitches and re-focus by re-doing.
Leave a comment and let us know if you find crochet mindful.