If you’ve ever had the experience of making something from scratch by hand, you know it’s incredibly rewarding. But there’s more going on than just satisfaction with the end result. The reward and benefit is as much in the process as in the end result. Many of know this intuitively, but there’s good evidence for it too:
We’ve gathered the relevant research together with the help of Dr Claire Jonas
It builds confidence
Some crafting has been shown to build confidence – you make something, and other people tend to be impressed, leading to compliments and which make you feel good. Simple but effective
It's a good way to fail
We can learn from the experience of failure in many ways. Research shows us craft is a particularly good space to experience a little failure and really reap the benefit of it. It doesn’t really matter if you drop a stitch or two, but you do learn from it
It can help you practise concentrating
Crafting can help develop concentration, particularly important in a digital environment where the pull to frantically (and often unproductively) multitask is so strong.
“Being in the zone” is not just a sports thing
Crafting can bring people to a state of “flow” – as documented by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is when time flies as you immerse yourself in an activity, and is great way to leave stress and worries behind and be in the moment. You know it when it happens and it feels great!
It can help with mood repair
While you’re engaged in doing something you love, your brain is saturated with dopamine and serotonin, known as “the happy chemicals.” This reaction is especially powerful when you’re creating something using your hands. Research shows that can be a powerful route to "mood repair"
It's brain exercise
Craft helps keep your brain sharp! Research showed that the challenge of working out complex craft was similar to the “brain exercise” recommended to seniors to help keep their cognitive strength up.
It’s great for reducing stress
Researchers measured stress indicators in people while they did typically stress-reducing activities, including playing cards, playing video games, painting, sewing, and reading. Of the five activities, sewing appeared to be the most relaxing.
Try it for yourself
Craft can contribute so much to wellbeing. Whether it's the opportunity to take a genuinely refreshing break at work, or to develop a skill that you can add to your tookbox of good mental health practise, Craft Work can help. All our packages include advice on how to engage your staff with creative activities. Contact us to find out more on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the sources we used - thanks again to Dr Claire Jonas for her advise.
- Burt, E. L., & Atkinson, J. (2011). The relationship between quilting and wellbeing. Journal of Public Health, 34(1), 54-59.- Pöllänen, S. (2015). Elements of crafts that enhance well-being: textile craft makers' descriptions of their leisure activity. Journal of Leisure Research, 47(1), 58-78.
- Chen, K. W., Berger, C. C., Manheimer, E., Forde, D., Magidson, J., Dachman, L., & Lejuez, C. W. (2012). Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), 545-562.
- Creswell, J. D., Irwin, M. R., Burklund, L. J., Lieberman, M. D., Arevalo, J. M., Ma, J., ... & Cole, S. W. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction training reduces loneliness and pro-inflammatory gene expression in older adults: a small randomized controlled trial. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 26(7), 1095-1101.
- Anderson, V. L., Levinson, E. M., Barker, W., & Kiewra, K. R. (1999). The effects of meditation on teacher perceived occupational stress, state and trait anxiety, and burnout. School Psychology Quarterly, 14(1), 3-25.
- Hektner, J. M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). A longitudinal exploration of flow and intrinsic motivation in adolescents. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American education research association, New York. Alfred Sloan Foundation.
- Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self‐reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 397-405.
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