This Is Your Brain on Knitting

What do Russell Crowe, Goldie Hawn, and Madeleine Albright have in common? Yes, they’re famous figures, but they are also knitters! Knitting is defined as a method by which yarn is manipulated to create a textile or fabric. It creates multiple loops of yarn (called stitches) in a line or tube. Knitting can be done by a machine or by hand. If you're from cooler weather, it's likely that you have something that was knit in your closet right now! You can knit almost anything with a couple of needles and some yarn. Now, most people tend to associate knitting with grandmas, but I'm here to tell you that knitting is for anyone and everyone. Not only is it a fun crafting activity, it has many health benefits as well. So before you stroll past the yarn aisles at Michael's, read on to see what knitting can do for you.

1. Knitting allows you to embrace your creativity and forget the stress and anxiety of your day.

Becoming actively engaged in a project that you are passionately about allows the brain to immerse itself fully in the task. Take a break from studying for finals this semester and pick up those needles! The repetitive action makes it easy to watch TV or engage in conversation at the same time. Just make sure to pay attention to the number of stiches at hand - you don't want to mess up and have to tink (un-knitting to fix mistakes). 

2. The rhythmic motion of knitting has been proven to change the brain chemistry so as to decrease bad stress hormones and increase the release of good mood hormones, such as seratonin and dopamine. 

Think of a runner's high! With finals just three weeks away, this time of year is crazy and stress is at an all-time high. We often associate stress relief with working out, taking a bath, or indulging in comfort foods. Now, you don't even have to leave your couch to get those good vibes flowing. 



3. The process of learning how to knit helps you feel good about yourself and enhances your sense of self-esteem. As you master more difficult stiches and patterns, you gain the confidence to try other new things in your life.

Purl stiches, cable needles, garter, oh my! I recently started working on a new project that seemed incredibly daunting. I had no idea knitting could involve so many different ways to twist yarn around needles. If you feel like you're up to a new challenge, but don't know where to start, don't fret. Go to your local craft store and I can guarentee at least one person knows how to help get you started. Learning something new helps broaden your horizons and encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, so go for it!

4. Crafts like knitting engage both your mind and body, causing optimistic feelings about your life and your future. Knitters also tend to be more social and outgoing, especially as they interact with others who share their passion.

Start your own knitting club, teach your friends, and work together to make something incredible. It always helps to have others around working toward a common goal. You can also make new friends of all ages!

5. There is nothing quite like giving someone a gift you made with your own two hands. Knitting projects make spectacular presents that truly come from the heart.

Compared to a new shirt or a gift card, giving someone a scarf or blanket is much more meaningful. It means you spent the time to create something with the recipient in mind. If you don't have a birthday coming up, consider donating your creation to someone in need, or to a local hospital that can give your gift to someone who would love to snuggle with something made just for them. 

Keep on knittin' on, mah knittaz!