DIY Crafting Boosts Your Brain, Keeps You Young: Science
We probably don’t have to tell you how fun it can be to spend a night out with friends, creating something beautiful with your own two hands, maybe having a little wine, and having a good time.
But did you know that crafting DIY projects can be a great way to relieve stress, stimulate your brain, and improve your state of mind? More and more, scientists are realizing that crafting isn’t just fun, it’s good for your brain – and can help keep you feeling young and vibrant.
Go with the Flow
Think about a time when you’ve been deeply engaged in an activity you enjoy. Can you remember how time just seems to pass with barely a notice? It really is true that “time flies when you’re having fun.”
Scientists sometimes call this being in a state of “flow.” Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is an expert on it. In a Ted Talk (“Flow, The Secret to Happiness”) that’s been viewed more than five million times, he describes flow this way:
“There’s this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity … sense of time disappears, you forget yourself, you feel part of something larger.”
Sounds like a place you want to be, doesn’t it? And once you get into this state of flow, the effects are very similar to the benefits of yoga and meditation. Stress and anxiety are reduced. Your brain is refreshed and empowered. Creative thinking increases. And a smile creeps across your face.
CNN reports that “there’s promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time,” says clinical neuropsychologist Catherine Carey Levisay. “And that’s that creating –whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography [or] cake decorating — is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”
For example, it’s good for your brain. One recent study shows that activities like crafting can significantly reduce the onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as you age – even more than reading or playing music.
More specifically, painting has been shown to have a variety of mental and physical health benefits. According to Samir Becic, author of the book ReSYNC Your Life, these include things like improved concentration, sharpened fine motor skills, enhanced creativity, increased self-confidence, and more.
Another study concluded that knitting – which requires similar fine motor skills and attention to detail as does painting – “has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to wellbeing and quality of life.”
A Scientific Approach
Yes, crafters have long known that their pastime can help you find your happy place, stimulate your brain, and help keep you feeling young and vibrant. And now science is backing that up.
So if you’re looking for a way to decompress, lower your stress level, escape from the pressures of everyday life, have some fun with friends – while creating something beautiful you can be proud of – consider a night out crafting. And give your mind, soul, and spirit the refreshment they deserve.