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!

~Rae

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

Mary Jane Slippers – Another pattern favorite!

Last time, I featured my favorite pattern. But if your feet were jealous, fear not! 😉

This pattern is by Lisa Gutierrez, titled Mary Jane Slippers, and they are delightful. They are very comfortable, you can customize them with contrasting colors and buttons, and the weave of stitches under the sole of your foot feels like a continuous massage as you walk. Like, I said, delightful! And even better, it’s free.

You will need a small amount of worsted weight yarn, around 3 oz., plus a little bit of contrasting yarn for the last two rounds and closure. While you can alternatively permanently attach the strap, it looks really nice with a neat button. It’s a great way to use up those few neat-looking buttons you’ve had sitting around, waiting for the right project.

Here is my version of her slippers:

Mary Jane Slippers made in some of my favorite colors.

Mary Jane Slippers in some of my favorite colors.

I found Lisa’s pattern easy to follow. It’s a pdf with excellent pictures detailing each step. A few alterations you can make if you are feeling playful or creative (imagine that, us, creative?) are:

  • Instead of working the strap across your foot as a loop, just permanently attach it. You could leave the button off this way if you wished.
  • For the bottom of the slipper, try holding stretchy .5mm or .7mm bead and jewelry cord (like Stretch Magic, which is what I happened to have around) with the yarn for the middle of each of those rows. The only downside to these slippers is they can be slightly slippery on hard smooth floors, and I think this would eliminate that potential problem.

Enjoy the pattern. Let me know what you think of it!

~Rae

Welcome!

Friends from near and far, welcome to a space where we can create, discuss, and share our mutual love of crafts regardless of skill or chosen method of creation. Personally, I love to crochet. I also make a bit of jewelry. But I also love to write, and having a blog combines my two greatest creative loves – writing and crochet.

Here, I’ll feature really cool ideas and patterns I find out on the web, testing them out whenever I can so that you know how difficult and complete they are. I also plan to share my own patterns and compile a list of them for everyone to try out.

So be welcome, and enjoy a space free of the anxiety and pressure of our daily lives, and full of fun, creative ideas.

~Rae