Many are sure to agree, that with the demands of the 24/7 world in which we live any distraction we can find, to give us our much-needed downtime is pretty much worth its weight in gold. The general consensus is that those activities that are repetitive and can build upon basic skills are the one that most benefit from the most. These may include such crafting styles as knitting, crocheting, painting, ceramics or even needlework.
According to Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, a famous psychologist, the repetitive types of activities allow the individual to enter what is referred to as a "flow" state which creates a sort of immersive feeling that achieves a somewhat balance between the skill being attempted and challenge it presents.
This goes hand in hand with and helps to make, what many consider a very desired quality in today's world—that of mindfulness. As a result, many are increasingly seeking out crafts for their many benefits when it comes to mental and physical wellbeing.
For well over a century, having emerged during the end of World War I, occupational therapy has both seen and reaped the rewards of the arts and crafts based activities. Originally used to help those who were then classified as suffering from "shell shock," to aiding those sufferers today with the next classification of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
For the returning veterans for both of our based World Wars, the processes of knitting, basket weaving, and other types of craft related offerings were a significant part of the English speaking worlds repatriation of their military heroes. The advantages were found to be two-fold: the activities proved diversional therapy as well as skills development.
The diversional therapy aided in keeping the individual's mind occupied in such a manner that they felt let pain or entertained fewer negative thoughts. The skill-development helped the individuals to prepare for reentry into civilian working life once again.
That is not to say that only those with PTSD or the military benefit from the activities. Many studies show that those with symptoms of various types of anxieties, depression, stress, or even CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) can also benefit from the simple process of sitting for a while and knitting, stitching, or painting. Again, the person achieves a state of immersion, that allows their brains to “rest” and not worry about the world around them as much. They are allowed to take a breath, relax, and recharge.
Also, the individual controls whether the activity is one of a solitary nature, or is one involving another individual or group of individuals. This allows the individual to have the sense of more control over their activity as well as their downtime.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Should more individuals make use of arts and crafts to help them deal with the hectic world in which we live?