How Fiber Art Can Benefit One’s Mental Health

By Nicole Crawley, MS | April 12, 2024

Here is the truth about crocheting, knitting, and all kinds of fiber art: they can be SO beneficial for one’s mental health! Let me explain why.

Creating a stitched project may be visually appealing and provide accomplishment with a finished project. It does not stop there- it has meditative and therapeutic qualities!

Crafting in general can have its benefits:

  • Crafting can reduce anxiety. Often when an individual is feeling anxious, one tends to fidget, pace, or have other restless tendencies. By providing your hands with handiwork, you can distract yourself, focus, and work on a project that creates a sense of calm.
  • Crafting can provide a sense of control and belonging. By adding this as a hobby, a person may be able to find a new community, where others can relate to having a creative outlet too.

Fiber Arts, specifically, have unique components that are beneficial:

  • Fiber artwork can reduce depression. The repetitive, rhythmic, and bilateral movement of fiber artwork can release serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that connects nerve cells in your brain throughout your body, which affect memory, happiness, regulation, sleep, and hunger (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.). Serotonin is a natural anti-depressant.
  • Fiber arts can reduce memory loss. During most of these activities, you often have to count and focus on your project. Several studies have shown that they can postpone age-related memory loss (ACA-ACC, n.d.). The crafts can also be soothing for those people who are already experiencing signs of dementia. Research at Mayo Clinic completed a study that showed crocheting and knitting may reduce dementia by 40% (Hayes, 2018).
  • Fiber art making becomes mindless over time, making it a relaxing hobby to do so one can unwind after a hard day’s work.
  • Fiber arts such as knitting and crocheting become rhythmic over time. Therefore, this can prompt a relaxation response, helping one’s body to counteract stress. Engaging in these relaxing activities can help reduce stress hormones, by having a person’s heart rate and blood pressure stabilize as breathing slows (Harvard Health Publishing, 2013).
  • Fiber art promotes sensory tactile and visual stimulation. Tactile stimulation can aid dexterity, strengthen fine motor skills, and are calming. Visually, when a project is being completed, there are feelings of reward, productivity, and motivation.

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Here is the truth about crocheting, knitting, and all kinds of fiber art: they can be SO beneficial for one’s mental health! Let me explain why.

Creating a stitched project may be visually appealing and provide accomplishment with a finished project. It does not stop there- it has meditative and therapeutic qualities!

Crafting in general can have its benefits:

  • Crafting can reduce anxiety. Often when an individual is feeling anxious, one tends to fidget, pace, or have other restless tendencies. By providing your hands with handiwork, you can distract yourself, focus, and work on a project that creates a sense of calm.
  • Crafting can provide a sense of control and belonging. By adding this as a hobby, a person may be able to find a new community, where others can relate to having a creative outlet too.

Fiber Arts, specifically, have unique components that are beneficial:

  • Fiber artwork can reduce depression. The repetitive, rhythmic, and bilateral movement of fiber artwork can release serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that connects nerve cells in your brain throughout your body, which affect memory, happiness, regulation, sleep, and hunger (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.). Serotonin is a natural anti-depressant.
  • Fiber arts can reduce memory loss. During most of these activities, you often have to count and focus on your project. Several studies have shown that they can postpone age-related memory loss (ACA-ACC, n.d.). The crafts can also be soothing for those people who are already experiencing signs of dementia. Research at Mayo Clinic completed a study that showed crocheting and knitting may reduce dementia by 40% (Hayes, 2018).
  • Fiber art making becomes mindless over time, making it a relaxing hobby to do so one can unwind after a hard day’s work.
  • Fiber arts such as knitting and crocheting become rhythmic over time. Therefore, this can prompt a relaxation response, helping one’s body to counteract stress. Engaging in these relaxing activities can help reduce stress hormones, by having a person’s heart rate and blood pressure stabilize as breathing slows (Harvard Health Publishing, 2013).
  • Fiber art promotes sensory tactile and visual stimulation. Tactile stimulation can aid dexterity, strengthen fine motor skills, and are calming. Visually, when a project is being completed, there are feelings of reward, productivity, and motivation.

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References

Association for Creativity in Counseling-American Counseling Association. (n.d.). Crochet therapy. https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/aca-acc-creative-activities-clearinghouse/crochet-therapy.pdf

Harvard Health Publishing. (2013). Meditation offers significant heart benefits. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/meditation-offers-significant-heart-benefits

Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Serotonin. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22572-serotonin

Craft Yarn Council. (n.d.). The Truth About Knitting and Crochet….They are Good for You! https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic

Hayes, K. (2018). Knitting May Reduce Chronic Pain and Help With Dementia., AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2018/knitting-health-benefits-fd.html

References

Association for Creativity in Counseling-American Counseling Association. (n.d.). Crochet therapy. https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/aca-acc-creative-activities-clearinghouse/crochet-therapy.pdf

Harvard Health Publishing. (2013). Meditation offers significant heart benefits. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/meditation-offers-significant

Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Serotonin. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/ articles/22572-serotonin

Craft Yarn Council. (n.d.). The Truth About Knitting and Crochet….They are Good for You! https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic

Hayes, K. (2018). Knitting May Reduce Chronic Pain and Help With Dementia., AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2018/knitting-health-benefits-fd.html