I believe that sewing is a great investment in you and will improve your wellbeing. It is a way to relax and enjoy life today and cope with pressure in the future. Those of you who come to my classes know that sewing is terrific and is like Pilates for the brain. It stretches and challenges, but ultimately leaves you feeling relaxed and happier. Whilst this had been based on my own experience, it appears there is science behind it.
Recharging Your Brain
The left side of our brain manages up to 85% of our daily tasks. Our lives are overflowing with content our left brain has to process. The endless information around us can lead quickly to our left brain becoming overloaded. Resulting in anxious feelings and low moods. I often feel my brain has reached overload. It reminds me of a conveyor belt where I am adding more information onto the belt, and other information falls off the end because my brain can cope.
During periods of creativity, such as sewing, we use the right-hand side of our brain. By allowing the left-hand side to rest, the unwanted anxious and low feelings recede. Also, creative tasks prompt the brain to release endorphins. It is these endorphins which make you feel happy.
I have found sewing also to be a coping mechanism. The structured process of making an item, following a pattern helps my focus. I can step away from the stressful life – even for a short time – and then re-enter it with more confidence in being able to cope.
Resting your Mind
Research shows that sewing (or any crafting) brings about a sense of calm. As we sew, our mind is full of sewing. Both hands are engaged in the task, and there is no possibility to think of anything else. This state of mind is called flow. Immersing ourselves in a creative activity makes our worries disappear momentarily. When we return to real life, we have a better perspective and are less stressed.
When I sew, I know that I disappear into that moment and switch off from the busy day ahead or behind me. It is the reason I took up sewing 16 years ago.
Engaging with Others
Sewing is a great activity to do in groups. Over 2020, my classes all moved online. The friendship that had been establishing previously in a face to face classes grew considerably over the challenging year.
A survey of more than 3,500 knitters undertaken as part of Stitchlink Project confirms this.
“more than half of respondents reported that knitting left them feeling “very happy.” And many said that they knitted solely for the purposes of relaxation, stress relief and creativity.”
The study found a significant relationship between the frequency of knitting and the respondents’ perceived mood and feelings. Frequent knitters (those who knitted more than three times a week) were calmer, happier, less sad, less anxious, and more confident.”
Whatever the science behind it, finding a group of people who can sew together and share stories is the BEST tonic in times of stress.
I hope this will convince you to start sewing or even to sew more . Details of my next Beginners Patchwork Class can be found here. If you have any questions, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
The basics of right brain/left brain research The benefits of crafting on the brain, from CNN Is happiness really all about using your right brain? Maybe. A neuroscientist's view of how crafting improves brain health Right Brain Meets Left Brian : Sewing Feeds Them Both