It’s no secret that stress can take a toll on our mental and physical health. In fact, it’s been called a “silent killer.” While there are many ways to deal with stress, one of the most enjoyable and healthy is through DIY stress relief crafts. DIY stress relief crafts can be any arts and crafts that you perform yourself.
These crafts can help improve our mood, give us a sense of accomplishment, and provide a sense of relaxation. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of DIY stress relief crafts and provide some ideas for how to get started!
Helps Relieve Depression and Anxiety
One of the best things about DIY stress relief crafts is that they can help relieve depression and anxiety. When we are feeling stressed, our brains tend to go into “fight or flight” mode. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, fear, and irritability.
However, when we engage in creative activities, our brains shift into “pleasure” mode. This helps us feel happier and more relaxed. In fact, research has shown that participants who share artistic pleasure show better emotional balance than those who do not engage in artistic pursuits.
Not only does engaging in DIY stress relief crafts make us feel good emotionally, but it also has a calming effect on our neural activity. Crafts such as knitting and coloring have been shown to calm the brain and help reduce stress.
This is because when we are focused on a creative task, our minds are not ruminating on the things that are causing us stress. This can be really helpful in getting us out of “fight or flight” mode and back into a more relaxed state.
Another great thing about DIY stress relief crafts is that they often provide a sense of accomplishment. When we finish a project, we feel good knowing that we were able to create something beautiful or useful. This can be really helpful in boosting our self-esteem and helping us feel better about ourselves.
Finally, one of the best things about DIY stress relief crafts is that they can give us a sense of relaxation. When we are feeling stressed, our muscles tend to tense up. This can lead to headaches, back pain, and other physical problems. However, when we engage in crafts such as knitting or painting, our muscles relax and we feel more relaxed overall.
Dopamine and Serotonin
One of the reasons that DIY stress relief crafts are so beneficial is because they help increase our body’s production of dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood and emotions. It is also responsible for providing us with feelings of pleasure and motivation.
When we engage in activities that increase dopamine levels, we feel happier and more relaxed. This is one of the reasons that crafts such as knitting and painting can be so helpful in relieving stress.
The neurotransmitter serotonin is associated with satiety and satisfaction. It is another well-known “feel good” chemical that is produced naturally and boosting it is the goal of many anti-depressant medications. Crafting projects may increase the body’s natural production of serotonin.
One study performed in the UK showed that 81% of studied participants, all of which were diagnosed with depression, reported feeling happy after knitting. Since it involves the same type of manual, hands-on work and requires similar cognitive functioning, things like resin crafting or clay working most likely do the same thing.
Protection Against Brain Aging
Another great benefit of DIY stress relief crafts is that they can help protect against brain aging. As we age, our brains start to shrink. This loss of brain tissue can lead to problems with memory, processing speed, and decision making.
One study performed by a neuropsychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic suggests that activities like knitting are neuroprotective and could reduce the chances of dementia by as much a 50%!
One clinical study performed in 2012 provided 102 adult users with clay and provided them with varying instructions, all involving creating something out of the clay. The purpose of the study was to detect any mood-altering effects resulting from crafting with clay. At the end of the study, all subjects reported enhanced mood.
Engaging in intellectually stimulating activities can help prevent cerebral atrophy and significantly delay dementia. In fact, a recent clinical trial showed that older adults who participated in activities such as crafting had improved brain processing speed for up to ten years after the completion of the task!
Another study interviewed 1,321 participants about their involvement in crafting-related activities within the one year previous to the interview. It found that all subjects who engaged in in computer or craft activities showed decreased odds of having mild cognitive impairment.
That is significant because the age of the participants was 70-89, which is a time in life during which many individuals do show age-related declines in cognitive abilities.
Crafting Boosts Self-esteem
Crafting can help improve self esteem because it enables you to learn new skills. We all know the satisfaction felt by mastering new techniques or successfully memorizing new things.
This is the same feeling that you get when you conquer any challenge. DIY stress relief crafts like working with polymer clay also make you feel productive and allow you to express yourself, both of which boost self-esteem as well.
Other related benefits include the development of your creative side and building a sense of community when you’re engaging with others who share the same crafting interests. You automatically share a common bond with other crafters.
Believe it or not, craft may also help relieve insomnia. The same applies to any repetitive, soothing, soft activity. One study performed by the Mind/Body Medical Institute found that 100% of participants reported improved sleep after DIY crafting. Out of these, 90% were able to substitute crafting for their sleep medication.
Summary of Benefits of DIY Stress Relief Crafts
The psychological and physiological benefits of crafting, not all of which were listed previously, include:
- Relief from depression
- Reduction in anxiety
- Improved self-esteem
- Reduction or postponement of dementia
- Relief from insomnia
- Reduced irritability and restlessness
- Improved sense of community when crafting with others or socializing about crafting
- Help with processing grief
- Stress reduction
- Improved memory and neuroplasticity
- Sense of accomplishment
- Increased serotonin and dopamine levels
We have discussed the many ways doing your favorite crafting activities can improve the way you feel and the outlook you have on life. Now that you know how it can benefit you, you have no reason not to set aside from time to sit down and let your creative juices flow.