Researchers Jill Riley, Betsan Corkhill, and Clare Morris interviewed over 3,500 knitters to discover how engaging in a creative occupation impacted health and wellbeing. “The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood,” originally published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, aimed to “identify the benefits of knitting for individuals’ personal and social wellbeing as a prerequisite to investigating its therapeutic use,” wrote the researchers. “The results show a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy.”
Eighty-one percent of study participants reported that they felt happy after they had spent some time knitting – and over 50 percent of them described those feelings as very happy. This can be attributed to the fact that crafting releases dopamine in your brain. It gives a great reward of self-satisfaction – and this is just how crafting can lead to post-divorce happiness.
The study’s authors noted that: “More frequent knitters also reported higher cognitive functioning. Knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact, and communication with others.” They concluded that: “Knitting has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to wellbeing and quality of life. As a skilled and creative occupation, it has therapeutic potential.”
This is how crafting can lead to post-divorce happiness.
Instead of spending your free time watching television, allocate a little time every week for your crafting activities. Make it part of your new routine – a valid way of finding out who you are and what you can achieve. Learning a new skill is part of your journey of personal discovery. Every week put an hour or two aside and create something from nothing. Research has found that crafting increases your self-efficacy. In doing so, it helps you overcome disappointments in your life and meet new challenges in a positive way.
Catherine Carey Levisay is a clinical neuropsychologist and wife of John Levisay, CEO of Bluprint.com and co-founder of Craftsy. She has been quoted as saying that: “There’s promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time. And that’s that creating – whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography, (or) cake decorating – is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”
Sign up for Some Local Classes
Signing up for a local craft class is a great way to learn a new skill or find a new favorite hobby. It also gives you the opportunity to try out different things before investing in equipment or materials. For instance, perhaps you would like to learn quilting and sewing, but first want to learn more about the techniques that you need and which quilting machine will be right for you. Doing a class is a great way of getting professional guidance in an engaging way. It is also a good way of getting out of the house on a regular basis and meeting new people.
Create New Items for Your Home
Learning the skill of woodworking is a great way to create new items for your home. You could start with making a new sign for your house, both cutting and shaping the wood and either burning your house name onto it or painting and varnishing. For your garden, you could create bird boxes, bee hotels, bird tables, and wooden planters to go underneath your windowsills and on your patio. Your new craft could directly improve your home environment, helping you to move forward.
Show Off Your Work
Whether you have painted a picture, made a birdhouse, or sewn a cushion cover, display it with pride. You have created something from nothing. Seeing the finished piece has been proven to stimulate the brain’s neurotransmitters to release serotonin and dopamine: all-natural antidepressants that make you feel good. When you realize that you can, in fact, create something beautiful from your new-found craft, you will have a personal sense of pride and reward. Then you can build on your skills by moving on to an even bigger crafting challenge.
Turn Your Craft Into a Business
What better way to mark a new era in your life than to turn your new craft into a small business? With websites like Etsy.com and Folksy.com, it is easy to create a business page and include photos of your work available for sale. You can easily sell your goods online and generate valuable income. Attending local farmers markets is another great way of selling your crafts and meeting other craftspeople. They can help give valuable advice on moving forward with your new craft business.
In the wake of a divorce, crafting can lead to post-divorce happiness. It can also give you a sense of achievement. Even better, the process of making something releases chemicals in the brain to help you to feel happy again.
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.