Knitting is good for your mental health

tea pot and knitting

Few things are as pleasant as getting cozy with yarn and needles, and just knit a few rows after a long day’s work.

It is not only us knitters who have discovered that knitting is great – and not only on cold winter days, but for your mental health too. During the last couple of years, numerous doctors and professors have conducted studies that show how knitting and crochet are particularly useful for mitigating stress and anxiety.

Doctors are arguing that the rhythmical repetition helps the body relax and makes the heart beat slower. In addition to that, there are benefits to being creative and creating beautiful things, and this can contribute to boosting self-esteem. Researchers have for instance focused on girls with eating disorders, and these girls elaborate that one of the things that has helped them in their healing process, is when they learn something new and become good at it.

"there are benefits to being creative and creating beautiful things,
and this can contribute to boosting self-esteem."

New knowledge in the field also indicates that elderly women and men who knit are less susceptible to mental diseases connected to old age, than people who do not knit. In a study with a control group of seniors who were reading and doing crosswords, the group of knitters showed significantly better results than those who did not knit. The result of this study illustrates that knitting can help keep the changes caused by old age at bay.

I think these results are connected to how we knit. We do of course knit at home, but we also often knit in company of others, be that in a knitting society, at a knitting café, at church or wherever people meet. We meet up with others, which means that we are social while practicing our hobby. Knitting is often linked to the Danish concept of “hygge” – which roughly translated refers to getting cosy and having a good time. Regardless of whether this “hygge” is on our own or in the company of others, it gives a mental surplus.

When knitting outside in the real world, other knitters will come over and chat, and you are thus instantly part of a community without having to actively create it, and even if you don’t know anyone. And knitters are so nice to each other. That is confidence and self-esteem spun by fibres and wool.

Yarn i different colours, beautiful wool yarn

"That is confidence and self-esteem spun by fibres and wool."

As knitters, we also want to learn. Very few of us continue to knit the same or remain at the same skill level. Mostly we want to be challenged and try something new – at least once in a while. That can be in terms of a new pattern, or a new type of yarn, and that contributes to keeping the mind sharp, so we continue to learn new skills.

I know someone who says that knitters are better persons – now we are also healthier, and I hope my doctor will prescribe me knitting next time a visit him, if life has become a bit too hectic.

Mette Lundstad