It’s a hobby that many Baby Boomers were taught as kids and have carried on throughout their lives and now researchers have claimed knitting is making a comeback – with its soothing abilities doing wonders for mental health.
Knitting has long been a favourite pass time for many over-60s and it seems the trend is catching on again now, with people of all ages giving it a go for its therapeutic benefits.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph about the calming hobby, neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay said many are taking it up for stress relief, using it as a form of meditation to ease worrying thoughts.
“The benefits of meditation include reduced stress and tension and it’s very calming,” she told the news outlet. “You focus on breathing and it offers people a slow, gentle and repetitive focus.
“Knitting by default does that for you because it’s repetitive, it’s very gentle and soothing and for many people it’s a ways of tapping into that slow rhythm especially in a hyper-connected and technological world we live in.”
In fact, according to a study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, there are many great psychological and social benefits.
Meanwhile, those that knitted in groups were also recorded as having an increased level of happiness and improved communication with others.
But those aren’t the only benefits of knitting, with University of Sydney Visual Art and Design lecturer Dr Marianne Hulsbosch claiming it is a way of reminiscing on one’s childhood.
In a chat with The Daily Telegraph, Hulsbosch said the “tactile” activity slows down the mind and allows other thoughts to enter.
“Just remember textiles are the very first material you come into contact with when you’re born and it is the last material you are wrapped in when you leave this world so textiles literally weave a thread throughout your life,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the benefits of knitting have been discussed, with recent research finding the hobby can reduce depression and anxiety, slow the onset of dementia and distract from chronic pain.
According to Knit for Peace, an organisation that knits for those in need, there is substantial evidence to suggest that knitting is beneficial to the mind and body. The British charity conducted an extensive review of previous studies and carried out a survey asking 1,000 members about their knitting experiences.
“There is an enormous amount of research showing that knitting has physical and mental health benefits” said the report, “that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain.”
According to the charity’s survey, 92 per cent of respondents said knitting improved their health, 82 per cent said that knitting helped them relax and 92 per cent said that the hobby improved their mood.
Roughly 30 per cent claimed that knitting helped reduce anxiety and blood pressure, and 10.7 per cent of respondents said knitting helps them deal with chronic pain, relaxing muscles and relieving the pain of arthritis.
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