Mindful Blog

The Mindful Collection

How Knitting can Heal Anxiety

Have you watched the movie “Where is Bernadette?” starring Cate Blanchett? This plot is about a highly anxious, even neurotic woman who has given up her job, is trying to hold her marriage together and raise her teenage daughter. We are not going to spoil the entertainment, if you haven’t watched it, - just this much: It is a funny movie about healing your anxiety through creativity and self-expression.

Crafting a project with your knitting needles can impact your mental health in long-lasting ways. Whether you frequently suffer from anxiety, are an overthinker, have neurodivergent traits or are simply interested in ongoing growth through a lifetime of learning, the art of knitting can serve as a powerful tool on your journey. Find out how implementing new techniques in your knitting routine and designing your projects can reduce ruminating thoughts and help heal your anxiety.

How Knitting can Heal Anxiety

What parts of the brain are used when knitting?

Creating anything with your hands invigorates the brain in ways that are distinct from merely looking at a finished product or project. Studies have credited handmade items with a substantial increase in functional connectivity in the brain that goes together with an enhanced activation of your cerebral cortex, the most advanced part of your brain. It shoots signals to your amygdala. Being part of the limbic system, this central part of our brain takes control of all emotional processing and triggers instinctive responses to the emotions received.

When knitting we produce three dimensional items and not only engage our visual cortex but also the part of the brain which processes kinesthetic messages. These in return also activate the emotional and meaning center of the brain, the abovementioned amygdala. So while seeing something beautiful may invoke the impulsive desire to possess it in our brains, touching a handmade item day after day and watching it literally grow in your hands is a totally different story.

How is knitting beneficial for your mental health?

Our collection of Mindful knitting needles are exquisite instruments designed to activate all your senses and help you on your path to self-expression.

Whether you concentrate on your pattern, your technique, or just enjoy the touch of your shiny needles and the warm thread, you will soon notice that the small nagging voice in your head has gone quiet. Watching the work in progress under your fingers grow, contemplating your work and touching it makes its impact on your brain more powerful and real.

While moving your hands and fingers rhythmically and combining soft thread with the hardware of your knitting needles to the fabric you have previously envisioned in your mind, you are producing a meditative zen-like state within yourself. Psychologists have named this state of mind “the flow”. Your limbic system is structured in a way that it approves of your creation and automatically releases a rewarding combination of dopamin and serotonin hormones. These neurotransmitters will eventually invoke the desire in you to continue creating and crafting knitwork. The healing process has started.

But the so-called “happy hormones” can do more. They also help you reconnect with your intuition and build a bridge to your subconscience. What is generally known as “gut feeling” does not actually sit in your gut, it also sits in our mid-brains. And evolution has ensured it approves of us being creators with our hands.

How can I practice mindful knitting while suffering from anxiety disorders?

If your thoughts are constantly racing at 1000 mph and your mind is all over the place, if you are feeling restless or are struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorders, incorporating just a few minutes of knitting every day can already calm you down and even change the parametres in your brain.

How Knitting can Heal Anxiety

In a 2007 study psychiatrists have found out that needlework such as knitting can considerably help improve the condition of patients suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s deseases.

The beauty of knitting is that it is a craft which is easy to practice anywhere you go. You won’t require a huge studio, all you need is quickly stored in a small bagpack or tote bag. It does not weigh much, and whenever you feel nervous or overwhelmed, knitting a few rows or rounds will find the approval of your frontal cortex and release some happy hormones.

All the knitting needles in our Mindful Collection come with an inspirational mantra lasered into the needle body. It is a subconcious trigger for your mind to get into “the flow” and encourages you to mindfully focus on your stitches. The teal-colored accessories and needle bags additionally promote a feeling of tranquility and safety.

For centuries knitting was considered a practical craft rather than an artform. Modern globalisation and the constant availability of mass-produced knitwear items almost drove handmade knitting into oblivion. The rediscovery of meditative knitting has turned the tide and is now being hailed by neurologists as a nonpharmaceutical way to address anxiety and even PTSD.

When you feel overwhelmed or suffer from intrusive thoughts, a mindful, contemplative knitting practice can serve as a daily meditation where you allow the rhythm of the needles to take over your brain and help your mind to slow down and focus. One stitch at a time.

Have you been in “the flow” while knitting? We are happy to learn about your personal experience in the comments.

If you wish to learn more about the healing power of knittingin our blog you also find moving personal stories sent to us by knitters from all over the world.



Knitting Needles,     Knitting accessories,     Circular needles,     Interchangeable needles

Tags: