Crafts are good for your brain. I bring my needlepoint to many meetings, not because I anticipate being bored, but because it helps me to focus. I worry that it might seem as if I’m not paying attention but in fact I’m paying closer attention than if I weren’t needlepointing.
The MacArthur Foundation Study on Successful Aging found that engaging in crafts is one of several ways to stimulate your brain. The Harvard Medical School has done many studies on ways to stimulate our brains and arts and crafts are always mentioned. If you take a crafts class you are hitting two of the recommendations – crafts and social engagement.
Another study explains that the production of new neurons keeps brain connections strong. It was commonly believed that the brain stopped making new neurons in our early 20s. It turns out that the brain can continue making neurons into old age. One of the ways to help the brain create new neurons is by learning new things, and crafts are always cited as appropriately brain-challenging.
If I’m feeling frazzled, crafts are sanity-restoring. I find my rug hooking and needlepoint calm me, help me focus and the final products give me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. Maybe it’s in my gene pool. My mother gardens and cooks, one grandmother needlepointed and the other grandmother knitted, at very high- level meetings! We have the most beautiful large needlepoint rug done by my husband’s great-uncle as a therapy when he returned from World War II.
Emily Dickinson was a baker
Jane Seymour paints
George Lucas builds models
Tom Cruise cooks
Betty White knits
Vanna White crochets
Rosie Greer needlepoints and macrames
Reese Witherspoon cooks
Tyra Banks paints
Katherine Heigl draws
David Arquette knits
Taylor Swift makes snow globes
Ricky Gervais paints landscapes
Choose a craft and get going!