Can knitting delay memory loss and help you manage anxiety?

Knitting does double duty—knitting allows you to create a beautiful article of clothing all while benefiting your mental and physical health. According to new studies, hobbies like knitting and crochet may help ward off or manage mental health issues like anxiety, eating disorders and memory loss.

We share four fabulous reasons why you should pick up some yarn:

1. Knitting can make you feel calm and happy. Plus, it’s even better for you if you do it in a group. In a study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, researchers state that there’s a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy. Furthermore, “more frequent knitters also reported higher cognitive functioning.” Also, knitting in a group is important. “Knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact and communication with others,” concluded the study. 

Knit for Health and Wellness

A new book also calls out the benefits of knitting. In Knit for Health & Wellness: How to knit a flexible mind and more, written by Betsan Corkhill, an expert in therapeutic knitting, readers can learn how to therapeutically knit. The e-book is out now and you can look out for the print version in September.

2. Knitting works as a sort of meditation. Doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, found that meditation-like activities reduced blood pressure.  Through his studies, Dr. Herbert Benson found that creating a relaxation response through repeating words, phrases or movements by doing things like tai chi, yoga and knitting can all be beneficial. 

3. Knitting can help manage anxiety in those with eating disorders. In one such study, subjects were asked to report on the effects of knitting on their psychological states.  Seventy four percent of subjects said it lessened the intensity of their fears and helped clear their mind of eating disorder preoccupation.

4. Knitting can help delay memory loss. A Mayo Clinic study has shown that activities such as knitting, reading and quilting along with other social activities in midlife can help cut the risk that people would develop memory loss in their 70s or 80s by more than one-third.

For more info on the the benefits of knitting, check out the Craft Yarn Council’s video here as part of their new campaign.

What activities have you tried to help reduce anxiety and stress?