Did you know that making cards is good for you? Hobbies such as painting, sewing, scrapbooking, woodworking, and photography are more than just ways to have fun or make gifts for others. They are powerful art forms that can “distract the mind, soothe the soul, and de-stress the body.” A few of the ways they contribute to the mental, physical, and spiritual health of people of all ages are that they:
- Develop fine motor skills
- Give an opportunity for self expression
- Reduce stress
- Increase confidence
- Provide a sense of accomplishment
- Distract from the stress of work
- Provide an opportunity for social interaction
- Offer an excellent way to express feelings that might be difficult to put into words
Arts and crafts that include mental challenges, such as the math and geometry in quilting, protect us from cognitive decline as we age. The rhythmic repetitive movements of knitting help prevent and manage stress, pain and depression by activating the same areas in the brain as meditation and yoga. And, using bright colors in arts and crafts is uplifting!
So stop putting crafting and creativity at the bottom of your "to do" list or feeling guilty for taking time to relax instead of doing something productive. According to Robert Reiner, PhD, a New York University psychologist, "the act of performing a craft is incompatible with worry, anger, obsession, and anxiety. Crafts make you concentrate and focus on the here and now and distract you from everyday pressures and problems. They're stress-busters in the same way that meditation, deep breathing, visual imagery, and watching fish are."