Knitting and its numerous benefits
Is knitting good for your health? In a word – YES! I have heard lots of talk about April being Stress Awareness Month so I thought I’d write a short post about how I deal with stress.
I have always been an anxious person, I am a worrier – I can’t help myself. I worry about everything – money, my health, my business, my husband and his job, is he happy, and lastly and most importantly – my children – what don’t I worry about when it comes to them??!
I can tie myself in knots about really inconsequential things and I am my own worst enemy! When I’m being rational I know that worrying won’t actually help, and that stress if anything, makes situations worse not better; but at 3am when I can’t sleep, my head is NOT my friend and I can convince myself the worst WILL happen…
I don’t need to go on, I am sure you can recognise the emotions, even if your particular reasons for worry and stress are different. I have learned various management techniques over the years – TV, chocolate and best of all for me – knitting (although may be combined with said TV and chocolate!). I also have a bit of an addiction to online shopping, so if you fancy – you can combine two of these and buy some scrumptions yarns, or perhaps an entire knit kit ? I don’t currently sell chocolate, although it may only be a matter of time, as I recently went on a chocolate making course – but that’s another story… I digress – having learned to knit as a child I have turned to it again and again throughout my life and it really does calm me down. Not only last week I had a massive explosion at the kids – I can’t remember what was the final straw, probably the toy-valanche they had created in the kitchen… Anyway, after my outburst, I took a deep breath, went in to the sitting room, picked up my knitting and did a couple of rows. It was all that was needed to diffuse the situation and calm me down. I was able to walk back into the room and deal with the children calmly, rationally and clear up the mess.
It’s not just me – there have been numerous articles about how knitting is good for stress management, and recently research carried out by Knit for Peace goes one step further in concluding “Knitting can reduce anxiety, depression, chronic pain and slow dementia”, possibly saving the NHS millions.
I also teach knitting to adults and children, and have seen first hand the many educational benefits it has: it helps in the development of fine motor skills and coordination, it increases the ability to concentrate, encourages creativity, and it is beneficial to maths and spatial recognition. I taught a group of 6-10 year olds a couple of years ago and one mother, who is also a teacher, wrote to thank me afterwards.
Dear Abby, thank you for your fantastic classes and for teaching my girls to knit. You have been very patient, and the girls have absolutely loved learning to knit and being taught by you. They are very different, one of them has great powers of concentration and consequently made rapid progress, the other has taken a bit longer to grasp the skill, however she has now got it and she too is eager to show what she can create. Every Monday they would bound along to classes, knitting needles in hand, eager to show you the progress they have made since the last lesson and show this to the rest of the class. What I love about knitting is that it is portable, so the girls have taken it on holiday, they can do it whilst listening to a story, it helps to calm them down (particularly before bed time) and also is a welcome alternative to requests to watch tv or to go on a computer game. The girls are learning a valuable skill that they will be able to enjoy in the future, but for the time being I am enjoying watching them being creative and wanting to share this with others. ‘I am making a scarf for Grandma’ or ‘this is a blanket for my tiger’ they pipe up as they knit away. Who would have thought something as simple as knitting would come with so many fringe benefits. Thank you. N
I was so touched by this ? and I enjoy teaching this skill almost as much as actually doing it. It is so great to watch as children and adults alike become excited and amazed when they see the fruits of their labour. It is so satisfying to create something from nothing and to watch it grow. My son is almost 7 and we have already talked about how he wants me to teach him when we go on holiday in the Summer. I can’t wait!
Personally knitting is my wind-down at the end of the day. It’s what I do when I need to close my mind off from all the stresses of being a parent, running a business and generally being alive. I know that I look forward to being able to pick up my knitting and sometimes feel slightly bereft when I finish a big project, much the same as finishing a good book. It is my haven, something that is all mine and brings me such pleasure and peace that I know, without it, I would be lost.
In my opinion there is no doubt: knitting is good for mental health.