How knitting can help calm anxious minds and bodies – Rhythms that soothe part 1
Rhythms that soothe part 1:
How knitting can help calm anxious minds and bodies
The time has finally come for us to post the first of our ‘Rhythms that soothe’ blog series! We’ve been really excited about sharing our thoughts on some topics that are close to our hearts around anxiety, depression and self-care.
To get started, we’re going to focus on a subject that’s been covered many times, and rightly so:
How and why does knitting help anxiety?
This question has many layers, and the answers will probably be slightly different each time if asked a room full of people why knitting has helped them. If you asked us, we’d say the answer lies in three main areas that overlap at different points. Our ‘big three’ are:
1: Knitting offers a sense of control.
As we said in our introduction, a lot of anxiety is caused by people feeling out of control of their own lives in a world that’s constantly moving forward at a tremendous pace. At its most basic level, knitting helps people feel more in control because it’s an activity that forces your mind and body to move in step with one another. Plus, you’re creating something new – something new that’s all your own! In the process of connecting your mind and body to create, there’s no space left for dwelling on the past and future – you are in the moment and you are relaxed.
On a different level, we also think that knitting offers control in the sense that it allows you to develop at your own pace. Connecting your mind and body in order to help cure anxiety and depression is not a new thought and the revival of age-old practices such as yoga, is clearly testament to this. However, a lot of the time, fitness and exercise are touted as the best (and only) way to achieve this. The Woven team is made up of people who enjoy being active as well as people who do not. But they all agree that knitting is a great way to work through anxiety gently and at your own pace. Plus, it’s so easy to access and maintain! A good set of needles and quality yarn will keep the feelings of happiness coming time and time again. You can take it anywhere with you. And with it, you can take back control!
2: Repetition is soothing
This is simply a fact– rhythmic activities soothe and calm. In learning to knit, not only are your hands learning new rhythmic patterns, but your mind is also forging new patterns. Your eyes are constantly moving from side to side, establishing their own patterns. Spending an hour knitting, is like wrapping your soul in a big chunky knit blanket and putting it in a gently rocking chair. Previously, we touched upon the fact that we, as humans, are hardwired to seek patterns. This becomes a problem when your world is constantly changing with new technologies and ideologies.
Imagine what a relief, then, all this pattern building must be for your mind and body! It’s no wonder people become addicted to knitting so quickly – it’s providing our bodies with something it has been craving since the dawn of time. Knitting can become so linked to happiness and calm, that we feel better just stroking a ball of yarn. We reckon you could too.
3: It provides you with a feeling of accomplishment
Everyone’s got their own inner doubts and feelings of not being good enough – we get that! It would take a very strong person to go through life without once thinking ‘I don’t know if I can do that’ or ‘why can’t I be more like *insert name of friend, colleague, celebrity, etc*. It can feel like the expectation of what we should be (happy, healthy, intelligent, career-driven…the list goes on!), is not achievable and it can send us into a downward spiral.
If you’ve ever felt like that, we’d urge you to learn to knit. One of the main reasons we say this is because knitting is such a simple activity to get into and do. Your first pattern can be attempted at home, at your own pace. Don’t worry if you get it wrong first time. You’ll see yourself improving quickly and your anxiety will slip away. If you’re struggling with a single-minded view of yourself because of anxiety and depression, creating something entirely new and unique with your hands is a truly great feeling. We think you should give it a go sometime!
If you’re feeling inspired, we’ve got some awesome easy knit kits to get you started. They’ve got everything you need in a neat little package. Check them out here. In particular, our aptly named new chunky yarn ‘JOY’ is great for beginners. Have a look at her here.
If you’d like to, send us an email with a picture of your first completed pattern and let us know how you found it. We love hearing from new knitters!
In the next part of the series, we’re looking at how knitting can help those who find themselves trapped because of mental or physical barriers. If you think that applies to you or someone you know, share our blogs and keep checking our Facebook page for updates on when it’ll be released.
Catch you next time!
The Woven Team! xxx