Three Crafty Brands Weigh In: How Working With Your Hands Can Help Anxiety
Here’s the thing about anxiety – you never really think it’s coming for you until it hits you like a ton of bricks (and then some more). In lieu of repressing your emotions in an attempt to control said anxiety, we have a better plan.
Work with your hands. Want to find some crafts for anxiety? We speak to the experts on handicrafts!
There’s a reason so many among us find comfort in cleaning and tidying up when the sky seems to be falling. A general wide-held belief of doctors and therapists is that cleaning provides a way for us to rest hyperactive minds. It’s these simple, occasionally mundane tasks, most notably with a repetitive edge, that keeps us moving, and yet allows for moments of calm and peace.
Cue brainlessness (in the best possible sense).
Solitude can lie in gently stirring together a pot of risotto, or in quietly tending to plants in a balcony garden, or in scrubbing the grout of your bathroom. Wherever yours lie, it’s important to be grateful for it – and to indulge yourself in it whenever possible.
Saint of With Saint finds relaxation in her work with resin.
Yves Saint of With Saint enjoys the process of creating trays and art pieces from scratch, and shares that the act of doing so definitely helps with anxiety. "I started building an interest towards acrylic pouring through videos and pictures online," She tells us. "I love how soothing and satisfying the art medium is." The self-taught crafter enjoys exploring online and practicing. "It starts with a blank canvas, but with my creativity, emotions, and skills, it can become a one-of-a-kind art piece. The process is the key, and that involves what's in your mind and what you would like to create."
Syakira of Imsycraft shares a similar view of her craft. Three years on, she reminisces upon her fascination of arts and crafts as a kid. "I was curious about it, but only made the mental note that I would try it one day," She shares with us. Not long after, personal issues encroached upon her mental health - and she knew, even then, that she needed to immerse herself into something to cope with overwhelming emotions while improving how she felt about herself.
Syakira of Imsycraft found her craft at a time of much-needed escape.
She soon found an embroidery workshop online and attended, with a friend. "It was a much needed escape," Syakira admits. Immediately after, she researched online for local avenues of purchasing materials, and began her self-study in embroidery.
"Looking back, I remember feeling calm, in the 'zone', and safe in my room while crafting or painting," She tells us. "I've come to realise that whenever I work with my hands, I am able to focus and feel relaxed. Focusing on my hands the work that I am doing helps avoid anxious and de-motivating thoughts. It's a simple way to unclutter my mind, which helps me think and function better."
Hanisah Johari of Condimentstrings believes that her work allows her to reconnect with her inner thoughts.
Hanisah Johari of Condimentstrings, likewise, has a similar view of working with one's hands. The macrame genius says of this: "When I start doing a project, there is always pressure and anxiety coming from a lot of aspects. But, I always trust my instincts while crafting, as every single knot type is a meditative little process for a bigger outcome. It allows me to reconnect with my own inner thoughts while letting my hands flow according to what is already familiar."
“When we engage in a repetitive task, completely taking our minds off whatever problem or issue we have been struggling with, the solution will often magically appear.” – Dr. Herbert Benson, The Breakout Principle.
Saint shares, of her feelings when she's working on her craft: "I feel free (as a bird!)". Likewise, Syakira of imsycraft adds, "Calm." She goes on to expand: "Embroidery is slow. I work with my hands for many hours to complete a piece. I find it meditative, and it reacquainted me with the art of slowing down and being present."
Check out imsycraft on Poptron.co!
Beyond serving as time in which to calm a frenetic mind, working with your hands can also give you an extra avenue through which to gain a new skill. Learning how to crochet, knit, knot, paint, embroider, or pour resin can do more than allow for all manner of creation to bloom within your home; it is also an avenue through which one can expand their business horizons, if they so desire.
This was much the case for Syakira. "I started making my own patterns to embroider, and as other people were interested to learn as well, I felt inspired to create DIY embroidery kits."
Beyond that, it makes sense also that we enjoy these quiet moments with our seemingly mundane tasks. After all, the end result is often quantifiable; we are left feeling a sense of accomplishment, rather than guilt (and oftentimes more anxiety) at having procrastinated all day from things we 'should be doing instead'. It's important to k-note (pun 100% intended) that there is pleasure to be taken from working with your hands, and that pleasure should never be met with guilt.
"Seeing the patterns forming together at the end gives me a new sense of confidence in myself." - Hanisah Johari, Condimentstrings
Check out With Saint on Poptron.co!
For Saint, who lives and breathes visuals, her work with resin allows her to calm her mind while allowing her creativity to do its work. "It can be addictive sometimes, and I have the urge to mix the perfect colour and achieve the ideal design. However, there are times my colour mixing and the design created are not up to my expectations." She doesn't allow demotivation to descend, however. "I believe practice really makes perfect."
And what is practice, if not mere repetitive motions after all? We think these crafters have most certainly gotten their anxiety-tempering activities down pat. And what an absolute joy and pleasure it is.