I mean, clearly it does. Otherwise why would we keep doing it? Have you ever wondered if the effects are “all in your head”? The answer is yes, mostly, but that doesn’t make them any less real. The positive effects of knitting can be divided into two main categories: those related to all hobbies, and those related specifically to knitting.
1. For those who suddenly have little to do with their time (say, the temporarily bedridden or the newly retired), hobbies provide just enough eustress to keep the mind sharp and feeling fulfilled. Learning something new (such as a new hobby) provides a similar effect.
2. Many hobbies also lend themselves to being conducted or discussed with groups, and it is well documented that social support and interaction is a great way to reduce stress.
3. Hobbies can play an active role in preventing job-related burnout, and people who actively engage in hobbies often feel less exhausted at the end of the day, in spite of having intense, high-stress jobs.
1. Rhythmic motions, such as those performed while knitting, have been shown to improve the mental function and well being of people suffering from dementia, strokes, and other brain disorders/damage. There is also evidence knitting can actually reduce the risk of some of these disorders occurring in the first place.
2. Repetition, such as in the motions of knitting, allows the mind to focus elsewhere, improving creativity and productivity, as well as producing a mental state of well-being sometimes referred to as the “relaxation response“.
3. The rhythmic, repetitive motion of knitting and other needlework actually changes your brain chemistry, causing it to produce more of the “feel good” hormones serotonin and dopamine.
4. Hobbies that produce a tangible result (again, knitting) also produce emotional gratification, important for your mental well-being. Hobbies which take a while to produce a finished project can teach delayed gratification and patience, which are important not only for the sake of maturity, because it enables us to hold out for the better options we might not otherwise get.
5. Knitting provides a physical and mental distraction from numerous bad habits and neuroses, ranging from overeating to smoking to anxiety disorders and eating disorders.
6. Regardless of actual physical benefits, knitters overwhelmingly feel calmer, happier, and smarter when they’ve been knitting frequently, and that can count for a lot.
Learn anything new? Just evidence of what you’ve suspected for years? By all means, please share!