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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Crochet: Health Benefits to Relaxation

I am a clumsy person.  I fall up stairs.  I trip over nothing at all. I stub my toes on everything.  I once sprained my ankle kissing my husband (yes, I really did). I hurt myself constantly (not usually badly, though!) in new and unusual ways.  It's amazing that such a clutz could make something beautiful with just a hook and some yarn.  But I do. This is the first several rows of my Detroit Lions afghan.  It will be gorgeous!  Some may stress over the amount of work that goes into it (there is a lot!).  But for me, crochet is very relaxing.  When I'm stressed I can pick up a project and after a few stitches I can feel  my lower back muscles relaxing. A few more and between my shoulder blades start to unclench.  A few more after that and I can feel my face relaxing into a far more pleasant expression. After several minutes of crocheting, my mood improves considerably. Even after racking my shins on a shopping cart because my arms are too short  (like the rest of me) to hold it far enough away from me that that won't happen.

The Mayo clinic says there are several health benefits to simple relaxation.  These include:

  • Slowing heart rate
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Slowing your breathing rate
  • Improving digestion
  • Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  • Reducing activity of stress hormones
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Improving concentration and mood
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Lowering fatigue
  • Reducing anger and frustration
  • Boosting confidence to handle problems

There are even claims by crafters that crochet can help with insomnia and depression!

I find crochet to be relaxing because of 1. the simple repetitive motions.  Once I get into a steady groove, it's almost meditative (perhaps this is a reason why it may help some with insomnia?) and 2. the feeling of accomplishment I get when I watch a project grow into something usable. Small projects that are finished quickly, like wash cloths, make me feel satisfied to complete and larger projects, like this Lions throw, give a sense of pride and achievement to watch it get bigger day by day. So we can make something useful for ourselves or others to enjoy while crocheting ourselves to a healthier stress level.

Besides the benefits you read above, there is another one for me:  I've never hurt myself crocheting. 😉