What do practicing yoga, washing dishes, and knitting all have in common? They’re meditative activities that boast health benefits--but keep getting labeled “boring.”
In fact, knitting does far more than give you a cozy sweater or scarf. This pastime keeps your neural connections growing, banishes stress, and improves your mood. Can a sweater from the store do that?
Your brain grows and strengthens through forming new neural pathways, an effect that can be achieved by learning new skills--like knitting. There’s even a networking group in Australia that gets together to knit and listen to lectures in order to boost their brainpower, according to Tip Hero. While you’re strengthening your brain, why not clear out all the clouds, too? Knitting can do that! In fact, 81.5 percent of 3,545 participating knitters reported feeling happier after engaging in the relaxing pastime according to a 2013 survey published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy.
It also banishes the winter blues by increasing your levels of dopamine, the happiness hormone. But the biggest way it can improve your mood is the effect we forget about in today’s age of cat videos and interruptions: it helps you lose yourself in an activity, or what experts call “flow.” Your brain can only focus on so many things at once, so when you occupy it with learning a new skill like knitting or figuring out how to perfect that sweater sleeve, it doesn’t have space or energy to dwell on the things causing you stress and anxiety.
So for a happier, healthier--and warmer--you this holiday season, make sure to pick up those knitting needles!