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Sarah E. White

Knitting for Stress Relief

By August 20, 2007

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It's probably not news to most crafters that activities like knitting and crochet can cause a relaxation response similar to meditation that can be quite calming (until you have to frog inches of knitting for a silly mistake, anyway).

According to a press release from Lion Brand Yarn, researchers from Harvard have found that knitters can actually lower their heart rate by about 11 beats per minute when knitting. While that study is several years old, the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine still notes that knitting, as well as rhythmic breathing, repetitive prayer, yoga and other meditative movements are quite calming. Doing any of these activities for just 20 minutes decreases metabolism, the rate of breathing and heart rate. Brain waves are also slowed.

Since the Institute says that 60 to 90 percent of doctor visits are for conditions related to stress, regular knitting can be a good way to take care of yourself. So if anyone in your family ever tells you you're knitting to much, tell them you're doing it for the sake of your health.

Comments

August 20, 2007 at 2:03 pm
(1) LeslieL says:

I’ve certainly found knitting to be meditative and an effective way of relieving stress. I’ve never been a smoker, but I seem to crave knitting in the same way.
It can also provide physical therapy. Recently I broke my wrist and have found that knitting seems to reduce swelling and increase the flexibility in my fingers.

August 21, 2007 at 1:06 pm
(2) Michele says:

So THAT’S why I never leave my house without my knitting! It seems the more stressed and hurried I am the more yarn I purchase. Maybe that is an unconsious way of my mind telling myself I need to de-stress and relax. It has certainly kept me sane through some very awful times recently.

August 21, 2007 at 5:22 pm
(3) kathy says:

I totally agree. I had about 2 years when I was totally addicted to just making simple scarves, no thinking involved and I just craved it!

August 21, 2007 at 6:18 pm
(4) Carla says:

Knitting is so relaxing for me because when I knit @home I lose all track of time and the same is on the bus. But the worst, is when I’m @work. Because I get so involved in what I’m doing, that I need to set my watch to let me know when it’s time to go back to work.

August 22, 2007 at 11:28 am
(5) Cynthia R. says:

I to find knitting VERY relaxing and stress relieving. I can’t wait to get home in the evenings and pick up my knitting. I usually have two projects going at the same time and am always looking for new and challenging projects. I have even been known to knit as I am ridding the stationary bike at the YMCA. People are fasinated to see me knit and peddle. I am truly addictive to knitting and it is a “Magnificent Obsession” with me.

August 22, 2007 at 1:17 pm
(6) Katie says:

I read an article several years ago about knitting being soothing to the soul. It was then I realized why I knit so much. It was an escape from the stress in my life. I have two afghan patterns that I have made so many times that I can do them in my sleep and I knit lots of scarves – usually just garter stitch. I like doing the Aran patterns and colors from a chart, too. But in my times of stress, I find myself starting another one of my favorite pattern afghans.

August 22, 2007 at 9:34 pm
(7) terbear04 says:

I started to knit about six months after I become disabled and it made me feel like I was doing something good. That was about 4 years ago, and I only have 2 things that I have made,because if someone sees it and likes it I give it to them.

terbear04

August 24, 2007 at 4:58 pm
(8) Linda says:

I’m a learner when it comes to knitting. I have been crotchering for many years and I can’t watch TV without crotchering and (knitting). I’m a lefty who learnt to crochet right handed and I’m knitting right handed as well. I think I could get addicted to kitting.
It is relaxing. I’ve been building a home and it’s been heaps stressful and I get home and grab my crochering or knitting and take a break from all the stress factors in my life. My mum suffers depression and bipolar and she’s taken up both knitting and crochering as well. I will be happy to make my first item but for now I’m happy just to practice all the new stitches.

August 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm
(9) Gloria Kamins says:

I agree with all the comments re stress being relieved with knitting and crocheting. When my husband suffered a stroke I probably couldn’t have made it through without knitting to help me.

August 27, 2007 at 8:19 pm
(10) Debra says:

Hi, I came to knitting in November and took a class at my lys. I too, found it very relaxing and quickly becoming a yarnaholic. I’m currently working on just one item, a shawl. I just know the knit and purl stitches for now but I condiser myself just practicing. I work in retail and all the yarn is on clearance. I get done with my shawl, baby blankets are next. I’d like to learn socks and bags and I go for the free pattern sections. From the KnuttyKnitterDeb

August 28, 2007 at 6:10 pm
(11) To busy in Vermont says:

Three kids in College,and all that time spent waiting for financial aid to take me off hold, I knit! One 16 year old, and a farm,hay to make, animals to feed, people to feed, firewood to get, goats to milk…ya I relax only when I knit, and I try to knit anytime there are two minutes in my day. I find counting put me into a place I like. Can’t talk to Mom right now she is counting!! Works every time

April 12, 2008 at 12:49 pm
(12) Cathy Mcnight hates stress says:

Taking a hot soak is a great stress reliever. Hot water works by defeating the stress response. When we are tense and anxious, bloodflow to our extremities is reduced. Hot water restores circulation, convincing the body it is safe and that it is ok to relax. Placing warm washcloths on your feet, hands, and forehead also works great.

July 5, 2012 at 9:18 am
(13) hanna says:

i used to xstitch everywhere i went, but since my eyes are getting worse i found myself knitting everywhere i go now.
it has become so bad, that i now sell my knits through a mates shop. i also ended up having a t-shirt printed with the saying, ” i knit so i dont kill you”.
but yes, knitting helps me to stay calm. i have an asbergers, adhd, ocd and ticks 12 year old son, 8 grand kids and 6 kids. also a partner like my12 year old son.
if i could not knit, i would rip throats out by now. and yes, my wool stash is constantly increasing to the extend that i had to get a special storage unit just for wool and materials. (nb, i also sew).

July 5, 2012 at 9:21 am
(14) hanna wicca says:

i used to xstitch everywhere i went, but since my eyes are getting worse i found myself knitting everywhere i go now.

it has become so bad, that i now sell my knits through a mates shop. i also ended up having a t-shirt printed with the saying, ” i knit so i dont kill you”
.
but yes, knitting helps me to stay calm. i have an asbergers, adhd, ocd and ticks 12 year old son, 8 grand kids and 6 kids. also a partner like my12 year old son.
if i could not knit, i would rip throats out by now. and yes, my wool stash is constantly increasing to the extend that i had to get a special storage unit just for wool and materials. (nb, i also sew).

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