Whether you’ve started feeling the years ticking by, or are simply someone who likes to try different things in the name of keeping mentally active, there’s a lot of evidence out there that crafting for mental sharpness has a positive effect on brain health.
Studies have shown that knitting and crocheting offer significant neurological benefits. The repetitive motion soothes the nerves which help to calm the mind. Not only is the act of making stitches good for the brain, but crocheting, knitting, and other handicrafts involve planning, problem-solving, and follow-through. All of these make for great mental exercises and keep your mind active and engaged.
The part of your brain that controls planning is activated when you do crafts. You must obtain the right supplies and match up what you need with the specific instructions. You’ve got to improvise at times when there’s room to be creative. And you might just have to learn a new technique or two.
Next, your mind must also engage while you’re working on your project. There will be times when you make mistakes and must start over. Or, perhaps you’ve run out of a certain supply and now you must find something else to sub in. If the project has a timeline, then you’ll want to keep ahead of schedule and that also requires thinking, planning, and pacing yourself.
The more crafting you do, the better you’ll become at it. Your brain will skillfully master what once seemed like complex techniques. “Muscle memory” will take over, and what once felt like clumsy, awkward movements will become as effortless as walking and talking. Isn’t it amazing, the things that our brain can learn to do!
Once you’re proficient at your chosen craft, you can then expand into communicating about it and teaching the skills and techniques to other people. So now the communication part of your brain has suddenly engaged as relating to your creative pastimes.
Memory absolutely benefits from learning, repeating, and mastering a craft. For example with knitting, you first learn the basics of knot stitch, casting on, binding off, and purl stitch. Then you learn the patterns needed to create certain stitches. After which the more complex knitting aspects such as knitting on circular needles, cabling, and so much more things.
If you want long and active golden years with plenty of know-how and knowledge, then you’ll want to work on the neuroplasticity of your brain to keep your cognitive functions young as long as possible. Picking up handicrafts is a great thing to do for yourself.