Why Does Knitting Make You Feel Good?

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.

pepper bloom

All Hobbies

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.

capra

Knitting

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!

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17 responses to this post.

  1. Fantastic Blog! Even more reasons to knit, knit, and knit more. 🙂 Thanks for the info.

    Reply

  2. Posted by caityrosey on August 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I was just blogging about something very similar: the benefits of blogging during meetings and how, despite what people may think, it actually improves my ability to focus and pay attention. I’m sure it has much to do with the “relaxation response” you mention. Knitting also makes me a much more patient person, perfect happy to listen long-winded individuals drone on and on. Perhaps something to do with the “good feelings” hormones. 🙂

    Reply

  3. My niece just taught herself to crochet and we were talking about this very topic by phone today. Thanks for expressing it all so well!

    Reply

  4. This is very interesting. I knit because it is a way of getting me to sit down without feeling guilty. I am still ‘busy’ and so can’t feel guilty about all the jobs yet to be done……

    Reply

  5. Just confirmed that knitting is good for you…better than medicine!

    Reply

  6. Reblogged this on Knit It Up and commented:
    Better than medicine!

    Reply

  7. Great post! You just helped me find a couple more sources for my dissertation lit review! Love it. Seems like there is a lot of this in the collective unconscious lately…

    Reply

  8. […] Why Does Knitting Make You Feel Good? (feelgoodknitting.wordpress.com) […]

    Reply

  9. […] 1. Knitting is good for your health. Not only is there evidence to suggest it can help ward against degenerative diseases such as dementia, knitting also helps relieve stress and put you in a better state of mind. […]

    Reply

  10. […] even a little bit interested in it. It’s relaxing but also keeps your mind busy. Studies even show it’s meditative and improves your mental function. However, not everyone has a grandma who can teach them to knit. I’m a self-taught knitter, […]

    Reply

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