If you find yourself barraged by anxiety, or facing a difficult life situation, finding a healthy way to rise above the chaos is key. Chronic, or ongoing, stress has been scientifically associated with a weakened immune system, poor sleep and greater susceptibility to a variety of illnesses.
While there are many time-honored ways to tackle both everyday stress and severe anxiety – meditation and exercise being two examples – another fun way to escape the torrent of worry is by engaging in a craft.
Many people find crafting, whether it be building a birdhouse, constructing model airplanes, arranging stained glass or making fun masks for your children out of construction paper, glitter and feathers, to be an excellent way to relax.
The following are five ways that crafting can help ease your mind:
1. Diverting your focus from your anxieties. If your mind is filled with racing thoughts and seemingly endless worries, doing something that you can immerse yourself in entirely can be extremely relaxing. Trying your hand at a new craft project, or one that you are working towards perfecting, takes undivided attention to execute properly. If your mind is busy deciphering the task at hand, it will not have a chance to burden you with worried thoughts.
2. Strengthening your confidence in your own abilities. At times, we all feel insecure with ourselves and wonder if we will be able to succeed in facing the challenges set out for us and achieving our goals. This feeling can be very discouraging, and we all need a reminder every now and then that we are talented and capable of completing what we set out to complete.
On a small scale, executing each step in a chosen craft, and seeing the finished product, can provide a sense of validation, one that is reinforced every time you look proudly at the craft you have created. This sense of pride and triumph can boost your confidence and motivate you to face the bigger challenges head-on.
3. Giving you mastership over something you can control. We all know that life is full of unexpected surprises, and it’s impossible to control every detail of everything. Some people experience a great deal of stress and feelings of helplessness when surrounded by so many unknowns. In this case, it can be quite therapeutic to work with your hands on a project that you are the ‘master’ of.
Each step in the crafting process is a logical progression towards an end goal, and your decisions control the outcome. If your creation is not to your liking the first time, or if unexpected factors (such as spilled glue) come into play, you can simply try again until the end result fits your standards.
4. Potentially broadening your social horizons. For some of us, stress comes from a sense of isolation from others, whether it is due to a busy work schedule, no close friends living nearby, or a number of other situations. If this is the case, deciding to make time for a class in your chosen craft can introduce you to new people who share your hobby. Not only will you learn tips and tricks to perfect your creations, you can also share ideas with others and perhaps expand your social circle.
5. If performed mindfully, it can become a meditative experience in itself. Any activity performed with mindfulness, or fully conscious, undivided attention, can transform into a serene celebration of the present. If you are doing a craft that you enjoy, it can be especially rewarding, training your mind to operate in the moment, instead of slipping into the anxiousness of dwelling in the past or anticipating the future.
What do you want to create today? Be crafty!
-The Alternative Daily