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If you haven’t quite learned to love the yoga mat or morning meditations but would love a way to feel the Zen-like effects these relaxing activities give, then consider taking up knitting or crocheting. These two hobbies have shed their former reputation as being “a granny thing” years ago, and are knitting and purling their way into the international spotlight.

Recently, British Olympic diver Tom Daley made viral headlines when he was filmed knitting in the stands while cheering his teammates on. When referring to his strenuous life as an athlete, Daley says, united kingdom internal medicine residency “The one thing that has kept me sane throughout this whole process is my love for knitting and crochet and all things stitching” (via BBC).

It’s not just Daley who is a strong motivation to pick up the needles. We’ve also found out that there are numerous benefits the two activities can have on our mental health.

Knitting and crocheting are great stress relievers

Per Better Homes & Gardens, research shows that “knitting, crocheting, and crafting have all been linked to lowering stress levels and increasing your body’s dopamine production,” with crafters feeling happier after a session with the needles. It’s the repetitive nature of the activity that relaxes you.

A happier outlook is wonderful! But hang on to your yarn because there is more. Because knitting and crocheting stimulate several of the brain’s lobes — including the frontal and occipital — crafters may notice they have less anxiety, stronger cognitive function, and a way to relieve stress (via The Washington Post). Plus it may help you kick a bad habit. If you’re used to having a cigarette between your fingertips or can’t help but mindlessly snack while sitting in front of the TV, then try knitting to keep those fidgety fingers from reaching for something unhealthy (via Health Fitness Revolution).

We’re fans of any activity that promotes mental health in a positive way. Especially if it may help you kick a bad habit. It’s just a bonus if you get a cute sweater or scarf in addition.

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