Many crafters can attest to the mood-boosting effect of picking up a crochet hook and wool. A recent study suggests that the craft can help to improve not only your mood, but also your memory and concentration.
This won’t be a complete surprise to many because the craft has long been used as an act of mindfulness and an opportunity to relax. It’s well known that stress impacts your mental functioning, so it makes sense to believe that you can improve it with activities that do the opposite.
The act of blocking the world around you out and focusing only on the project you’re working on has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain. This hormone is responsible for providing a feeling of calmness and increasing mood. The repetitive movement combined with this flood of ‘happy hormones’ has been shown to decrease anxiety in participants. To reduce stress even further, crochet blanket kits are now readily available. Examples can be seen at https://www.woolcouturecompany.com/collections/blanket-and-cushions-crochet-kits. Not even having to gather materials means crochet is simple to just pick up and get started.
Occupational therapists have been using activities such as knitting and crafts as a means of improving motor skills in people with conditions including Parkinson’s disease. According to the Washington Post a 2007 study showed that activities such as these slowed cognitive decline in participants.
Professionals are starting to understand why these crafts are so positive for cognition, believing that the activity engages the brain, giving it some exercise. You could almost go as far as to compare your crochet needles to a treadmill for your brain, giving it a good workout and ensuring that any decline is experienced at a slower pace than in those who don’t exercise their grey matter in the same manner.
Ultimately, smarter might be pushing definitions slightly as far as current evidence shows. However, it does seem that activities like crochet improve mood and prevent cognitive decline. Neither are to be sniffed at, so get the needles out and give your brain a run!