Crochet as Therapy for Anxiety

There have been studies done in recent years that tell us what many crochet artists already knew: crafts like crocheting and knitting are excellent ways to sooth anxiety, panic disorders, and stress. But anecdotal evidence only takes us so far, and I have a great love for science and logic. With that in mind, here is some actual proof:

A CNN article entitled “This is Your Brain on Crafting” from March of last year talked about how crafting can better our lives. The article states that, “Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say.” I don’t know about you, but I fall into basically all of those categories, some more often than others. But the article goes on, “It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging.” Let’s be honest – we could all use less stress and more happiness. Sign me up!

I’ll be honest, as a writer as well as a crafter, I’m fascinated by the concept of “flow.” Think of flow as being “in the zone” so to speak – the article touches on this concept as well.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first described this phenomenon as flow: a few moments in time when you are so completely absorbed by an activity that nothing else seems to matter. Flow, Csikszentmihalyi says, is the secret to happiness — a statement he supports with decades of research.

Csikszentmihalyi also gave a great TEDtalk, one of my favorite resources available on the internet along with Ravelry. You can find his TEDtalk here, if you are interested. It’s 18 minutes, but time well spent. You could crochet while listening! I found this point to be really interesting, in that it explains why activities like crochet reduce stress and anxiety:

Our nervous system is only capable of processing a certain amount of information at a time, he explains. That’s why you can’t listen and understand two people who are talking to you at once. So when someone starts creating, his existence outside that activity becomes “temporarily suspended.”

So, crocheters and crafters of all kinds, keep crafting – it’s good for your health!


(All quotes come from the linked CNN article, “This is Your Brain on Crafting”)


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