It's not just for grandmas anymore — knitting is officially in fashion. Girls and guys with knitting needles and skeins are an increasingly common sight on our daily commute, eliciting amused glances and covert chuckles from older onlookers who've been in the game for years. Well, turns out, the whole knit-purl thing is a whole lot more than just the new cool-kid hobby. As CNN reports, the pastime actually provides a number of significant emotional-health benefits.
Of course, many studies have shown that the process of creating something, whether with two sticks and some yarn or with paint and canvas, helps people achieve a state of complete focus and calm, known as "flow," allowing them to forget their problems and reducing their stress levels.
But, an increasing amount of research on knitting in particular suggests several other benefits. A study published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that 81% of subjects suffering from depression reported feeling happier after knitting, while more than half said they felt "very happy." Researchers attribute this effect to the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasurable activities like sex, eating, and exercise. Studies suggest that engaging in an activity on a regular basis can train the brain to release dopamine over time, providing more evidence that a hobby like knitting can offer significant long-term benefits for those dealing with depression.
Additionally, the calming effects of the repetitive movements involved in an activity like knitting have been compared to those of meditation. Of course, perhaps the biggest benefit is the money you'll save on chunky scarves and beanies. But, for those looking for a way to channel their stress and nervous energy, we can't really think of a better outlet. (CNN)