Those of us that are involved in arts and crafts, be it fine art or home crafting, already know that these activities reduce stress. Probably the only time they don’t is when there is a performance or exhibit involved. 

As a once semi-professional classical musician, I know the stress of performing well. However, all the time up to the performance, the hours of rehearsal and practice, are times when I could feel stress, anxiety, anger, and emotional pain dissipate with each passing minute. Plus there’s lots of camaraderie involved in musical performances. Rarely do you do them solo. You, at the very least, have an accompanist, and my true love was playing in an orchestra. There you have a whole community supporting you, with the same goal in mind.

For some strange reason it took years, decades, maybe even millennia for science to even begin to explore the health benefits of arts and crafts. I think the main reason is that there is this misconception that there isn’t any money in it. However, a quick look at some statistics shows that is it a multi-billion dollar industry.

Drawing of a group of women knitting together
Coming together with others to knit or crochet gives a sense of belonging and lessens stress.

These statistics are for 2016 and just for knitting and crochet.

  • 28.8 million Americans participated in knitting and/or crochet.
  • $2.79 billion was spent. That’s around $20 per household per month.
  • 18% consider themselves experts. 82% consider themselves beginners or intermediates.

You can read the entire article here.

Why do people participate in arts and crafts? Because they like to. Whatever medium they choose is because they enjoy it and, even if they don’t realize it, what they are doing is helping them immensely, they are willing to spend money to be involved in it.

Now, this isn’t a blog on the money people spend. The point is, I think that science finally got interested in arts and crafts because they saw dollar signs, lots of them if they could get more and more people involved. 

In this crazy stressed society, what would be more welcome than for science to tell you that what you enjoy doing is also good for you. It reduces stress, stimulates your imagination, creates a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment, reduces pain, etc.

In some studies, it was found that knitting reduced the heart rate by 11 beats per minute. People reported an enhanced sense of calm and feeling like they were in “the zone” that athletes talk about. This led to a drop in stress hormones and blood pressure.

Another study showed that 70%of the knitters polled felt it improved their health. 82% claimed it helped them relax. 65% said it made them feel useful. A whopping 92% said it boosted their mood. In another study, many found that the repetitive movement of knitting had similar effects as meditation.

All this information is only for knitters and crocheters! I feel this is only the tip of the iceberg.I’m hopeful that, as time goes on, there will be more studies done that will show that all the arts and crafts from painting and drawing, to knitting and crochet, to sewing and quilting, and more will be found the be a necessary part of maintaining mental and physical wellbeing, and will become a required part of schooling and even promoted in the workplace. 

Until that time comes. All us creatives can rest in our own experience of how our chosen medium has helped us live a happier, healthier, and less stressful life. I will be doing more in-depth studies on this subject, and as I unearth the information I will gleefully share it with all of you so that you will be armed with scientific facts for the experiences we already have each and every time we are involved in our creative passion. We will be able to entice others to join us in the happy pursuit of calm, robust health one stitch, or stroke, or dab at a time.

Please share in the comments section what benefits you feel your arts and/or medium gives you. It would be great to have our own informal “study.”

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