According to Dr. Javier Cabanyes Truffino, neurologist at the University of Navarra Clinic, "we live in sick societies." Depression and anxiety are a product of this civilization, which “is a constant source of stress, due to the rhythm of life, social pressure and bureaucratization”. Against this background, creative and artistic activities such as knitting can be a life jacket.
(You may also be interested in: Symptoms of depression to watch out for)
This is demonstrated by a study published by The British Journal of Occupational Therapy. In it, 81% of the people with depression consulted claimed to feel better after knitting. But it is also stated by the neuropsychologist Catherine Carey Levisay, for whom knitting, along with other creative activities, “benefits us in several ways”
But what is the reason for this feeling of well-being? According to other specialists, knitting, like other creative activities, causes our brain to release dopamine, a chemical that works as a "natural antidepressant."
Dopamine, in effect, is a neurotransmitter present in the body that is activated when we are doing something that we like and that gives us pleasure. Added to this, when we see the finished piece that we have made for ourselves, we receive new doses of this chemical that generates well-being.
Effects similar to meditation
The study published by The British Journal of Occupational Therapy also states that the creative process of knitting provides similar benefits to meditation.
What is this about? Apparently this is related to the zen state we achieve when we do some creative activity. This state was first described by the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who called it flow (flow in Spanish). Mihaly explains that this state of happiness and inner peace generates, among other things, effects similar to those of meditation, including reducing stress.
This phenomenon, according to the specialist, occurs at times when we are completely absorbed in an activity, so that we come to feel that nothing else matters. Thats why he flow, "It is the secret of happiness". At that moment, not only "we feel that we are living more intensely than at other times", but we forget ourselves, Mihaly assures.
Creative activities can protect you from aging
Our brain is not, as previously believed, a static organ. Recently, research has shown that our brains are flexible and can adapt to their environment, even when the person is elderly. This concept is known as neuroplasticity.
Thus, activities that are intellectually stimulating, such as learning a new language, can help prevent brain atrophy and significantly delay dementia.
(You may also be interested in: 6 differences between stress and anxiety)
What about manual activities? For John Levisay, CEO of Craftsy.com and husband of Catherine Carey Levisay, crafting is something unique. Due to its ability to involve many areas of your brain, it can improve your memory and attention span while involving your visual-spatial processing, your creative side, and your problem-solving skills. In this way, you are stimulating your brain to keep it healthy and young.
Knitting can be a healthy activity, allowing you to stay young longer. And you, have you tried it?