In general, people are having a pretty rough go of it these days. There’s a lot to worry about, and if you happen to be among the horde of Americans who feel especially besieged by worry and fretfulness, perhaps you can take some small comfort in the fact that you are not alone — indeed, you are very much not alone.
In fact, the American Psychological Association finds that stress in America is surging. The drivers of our collective anxiety — money, the pandemic, war, a general bevy of awful — are largely out of our control. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do on a personal level.
Today, we are here with a remedy that can slow you down and go a shockingly long way toward nixing a big chunk of whatever is souring your stomach with worry. What do we have in mind? Crafting. Yep, crafting. Studies show that busting out that cutting mat and devoting time to a little bit of art here and there can restore your Zen and get you back on track.
It’s understandable if you find this crafting cure fairly hard to believe. So we’ll just devote a little time here opening your eyes to some of the ways crafting can brighten your world.
Crafting Gives You a Reprieve from the Bleak
That smartphone you tote around in your pocket — it comes in handy quite often, but it also funnels bile right into your brain. It’s pretty hard to give your mind a vacation from the awful when we are constantly exposed to it. And “constantly” is barely an overstatement. On average, we look at our phones 344 times per day.
Sure, sometimes we are trading delightful texts or looking at cute pictures of animals and babies on social media, but, too often, we are simply gulping down straight muck, reminders of the vile business the world grapples with without pause. And even when we are consuming neutral or uplifting phone matter, that smartphone is still wrecking your attention span. When you can’t focus, you’re more likely to swirl into despair.
So instead of swiping your way through phone content, don a finger knife and get to crafting. Even if you’re merely cutting out goofy photos for a silly collage, you’re putting your creative energy to use.
Our phones are a big driver of our misery. Keeping your hands occupied with a craft is a surefire way to keep your phone addiction at bay.
Improving at a Craft Improves Your Mental Health
Consider any task or chore you’re fairly new to handling. Maybe you’re trying to paint a nursery and feel like a bumbling fool at the outset because you’ve never painted before. Or maybe you’re replacing a toilet handle or trying to figure out how to darn a sock. Whatever the task, if you’re new to it, it kind of stinks at the outset. You feel frustrated, incapable, but then you suddenly get the hang of it, and the next thing you know — you almost kind of like it. And even if you never fall in love with the task, you take pleasure in having completed it successfully.
It’s simply good for your mind to gain skills, and that benefit increases exponentially when we set in on hobby and routinely improve our craft. Skeptical? Well, studies back this up too.
So if you’re thinking about doing a little woodworking but don’t know where to begin? Well, embrace being green and get to it. After all, the greener you are, the more you can improve. Get that woodworking set or oil paints/ canvas or sketchbook or whatever — the point is simply to find a hobby and devote yourself to getting a little better at it all the time. Before you know it, that anxiety might be a relic of the past.
Healthy Social Connection
Another big reason so many of us are stressed these days: alienation. It’s another harsh fact of our times. We’re all over social media but feel increasingly alone. And when we feel all alone in the world, our stress levels tend to skyrocket.
You know what can help connect you with a healthy community? Well, yeah, of course you know by now: crafting. Maybe you get so good at your craft, you start selling your goods at local markets. Or maybe your handiwork connects you with likeminded crafters and, the next thing you know, you’re part of a community. Or maybe you simply sit down with friends and family and neighbors and get to crafting together.
When we make things, we have a natural tendency to drift toward other people. And when we are with others in the real world, we are happier and healthier and more apt to shine a smile at someone who could get a little boost from your crafting glee.