Knitting News – 31 March 2014 – Knitting for health

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The last day of March already, where has the month gone. We’re well into Spring now. The clocks changed to summer time here yesterday, so the evenings are brighter. More knitting time, I say!

Here’s this week’s news, and don’t forget you can follow me on twitter to get the latest interesting articles directly throughout the week.

This week has been all about how knitting can be good for your health.

Anyone who knits already knows that it’s relaxing and even meditative. I’m really not telling you anything new here, am I?

Now we have scientific proof of what we already know. A study was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy. Over 3,500 knitters worldwide were surveyed. The researchers found:

 Respondents came from a virtual community of knitters. The majority were female white adults and frequent knitters, who commonly reported knitting for relaxation, stress relief and creativity. The results show a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy. More frequent knitters also reported higher cognitive functioning. Knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact and communication with others.

And concluded:

 Knitting has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to wellbeing and quality of life. As a skilled and creative occupation, it has therapeutic potential – an area requiring further research.

The appearance of this study has sparked a bunch of articles with personal stories on how knitting has helped individuals and how the activity can be beneficial.

Last week we already highlighted how knitting can help you stop smoking.

It’s been proven that Alzheimer’s can be delayed, if not prevented, by keeping the mind busy. Knitting is an activity that is excellent for this purpose. See this article on how knitting can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Knitting can also help with depression, and is great for overall brain health. This article has the thought provoking story of how one woman used knitting to help her through severe depression, PTSD and grief after the death of a loved one. Researchers have seriously looked into how knitting – and to be fair, other crafts too – affect the brain in a wonderfully positive way.

Speaking from a personal experience, knitting has been hugely important to me in the past. I find it very helpful to heave something in my hands when I’m trying to relax in times of great stress. I also get a great sense of fulfilment out of seeing something beautiful and functional slowly grow in my hands, stitch by stitch. I don’t think I could have managed to complete my PhD had it not been for my knitting, and one of the hardest things about my first pregnancy was not being able to knit towards the end as my hands were sore and swollen.

A parenting forum I frequent does so called woolly hugs, where members volunteer to knit a square for a blanket, which gets send to a member going through a difficult time. It helps both knitters, who feel they can do something useful to help someone in need, and the recipient, who has a very real reminder that there’s friends out there who care.

Do you have any stories on how knitting has helped you or someone you know?

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