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Mental Health

Handling Stress and Anxiety with the help of Knitting

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Around six years ago, I had decided to knit myself a scarf and it had turned out to be a complete disaster. Not only was the shape mismatched, but it also had a bunch of holes too. It is safe to say that my short-lived knitting career was halted there. However, I had recently decided to knit myself a scarf over the holidays to re-challenge myself and have successfully knitted myself one. 

(Fun fact, I am wearing the scarf while I am writing this article) 

 Knitting, it turned out, is far more consuming and required quite a lot of concentration and focus to not make any mistakes, which explains why I failed the first time because I watched more television than knit. It also turned out to be a lot simpler than I remembered it to be. Needless to say, when I had finished my very first scarf, I had felt a great amount of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. 

All of this started to get me thinking about whether knitting has any health benefits. A couple of articles and a google search later, I have now come to tell you all about the health benefits of knitting, particularly in helping with anxiety and stress. 

Firstly, knitting is said to help with reducing stress. Knitting is an activity that requires repetitive and rhythmic movements, which can be the key to relaxing our minds. English physiotherapist, Bestan Corkhill, said that she saw the positive results from knitting in her patients and that those who had been stressed and depressed were able to calm themselves through knitting. Corkhill had claimed that the rhythmic repetitive movements induce a form of meditation similar to mindfulness. It is a way to self-manage our thoughts and behaviors. 

Secondly, Knitting can help overcome addiction. Ironically, knitting itself can become addicting, however, the addiction can take place for the self-destructive addictions such as drinking and smoking. There are knitting support groups around the world that support those trying to overcome their addiction, such as Australia’s Knit to Quit group for smokers. Not only are these knitting support groups helpful for the individual, but they all also garner a lot of community support, encouraging those with an addiction. 

Thirdly, a study by Knit for Peace has found that knitting also helps with reducing blood pressure, distracting from chronic pain, and even helping those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. As I mentioned earlier, knitting requires concentration and focus, and this focus momentarily takes your attention away from your pain and suffering, thus helping in distracting us from chronic pain. 

Now, you may be thinking, “Yes we understand knitting is beneficial but exactly how is it beneficial?” 

Well don’t worry, I have you covered, 

According to an article by HRI Herbal medicine, when we carry out repetitive motions, similar to coloring, our brain releases the chemical dopamine known as the “happy hormone” to boost our mood. Dopamine lifts our mood and ceases our worries and makes us feel better overall. Furthermore, experts also believe that one reason why knitting also boosts our mood is because of the fact we are making something useful. When you knit yourself a scarf, cap, or sweater, you are bound to wear it yourself. 

I have already begun on my second scarf and I hope that I will be skilled enough to knit myself a cardigan by the end of the year. Even though in the beginning it may seem hard, once you get used to the movement of your hands, you can easily watch television or listen to music while knitting. 

So what are you waiting for? 

All you need are some needles, color yarn of your choice, and a YouTube tutorial to get started. 

Oh, and don’t forget to leave your worries behind while you are at it. 

Maanya Choudhary

ICU Japan '24

Hi I'm Maanya, currently studying Media Communication and Culture at ICU. I'm from India but I've lived in Japan my entire life. I love reading and writing!
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