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In the first part of this article I discussed the meditative aspects of knitting as it pertained to mental health. In this section of the article I’ll look at how knitting as a meditative tool can be beneficial to your physical health. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting keeps the mind in the here and now. Which moves the focus of the mind away from thoughts that make us feel stressed, depressed or anxious. By alleviating stress, depression or anxiety knitting helps lower heart rate, blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.

One obvious physical benefit of knitting is it maintains and improves hand dexterity. My mom suffers from arthritis but continues to knit. She might not be able to knit for as long as a duration as she once did, but the movement helps prevents her hands from losing their dexterity. There is a warning though as too much knitting can cause repetitive disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome. To prevent problems keep knit times to a reasonable length and stop at the first signs of discomfort.

Studies have shown there is a correlation between preventing dementia and knitting. People who knit earlier in life and continue to knit have a reduced chance of in developing dementia. How this works is that since knitting is a cognitive activity it releases an natural anti-depressant called dopamine. We know there is a link between depression and dementia, so by lowing depression dopamine helps delay diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The hand-eye coordination and math skills required to knit are key to reducing dementia as well. These skills help strengthen and build neural networks, protecting neural connections. By protecting and improving neural connections the deterioration of the brain is slowed. Knitting also utilizes attention span and memory which are specifically affected by dementia. When knitting these areas are used like a muscle strengthening the brain and reducing their deterioration.

This is the end of part three of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. Part one can be found here and part two can be found here. I will post part four next Friday. There will be four parts.

Credits will be included at the end of last the article.

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Knitting can socially connect even the most reclusive introvert. You don’t have to leave your house to find like-minded knitters. There are knitting communities online like Raverly that allow knitters to share and support one another across the world. You can find plenty of  Facebook groups, blogs, forums (Knitting Help), youtube videos, online knitting magazines like Knitty and knitting shops like Knit Picks. Online it’s all about knitters reaching out to knitters.

I made several online friends when I started my blog 11 years ago and I’m still in touch with some of them today. These days I keep up with my online knitter friends on Facebook, but I originally met them through forums, their comments on my blog or my comments on their blog. We talked about knitting, raising children and our lives.

Knitting is portable making it easy to take along anywhere (unless maybe you are making an afghan). You can go to a coffee shop to share, teach and learn with other knitters. Most knitters I know are a passionate and friendly bunch who love to talk about knitting, yarn and so much more. There are plenty of face to face interactions out there for knitters. Places like causal knitting groups, local yarn shop meet ups, yarn shows, craft shows and knitters’ guilds are all great ways to meet other knitters. These meet ups are often called a stitch and bitch. I however am not a fan of this name. I supposed it can be a time to knit and vent with friends, but I think it’s a bit negative. I would rather view a knitting meet up as a time to connect and catch up with friends old and new.

Okay knitting can encourage social interaction, but why is this important? Social interaction gives us friends and friends support each other through stressful and difficult times. Friends are people we share fun times with and should make each other feel good about themselves. Having good people in your life improves the quality of your life, often improves your outlook on life and helps alleviate depression and stress. So go out there and connect online or out in your community!

This is the end of part two of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. Part one can be found here. I will post part three next Friday. There will be four parts.

Credits will be included at the end of last the article.

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I don’t need to convince you that knitting is amazing. You are here, you are a knitter so you already love knitting. This month I’m going to look at several great reasons to knit besides creating warm, woolly wonders.

Knitting is not only handicraft, it’s a meditative tool that comes with many benefits. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting is what makes it a form of meditation. This nature helps keep the mind in the here and now. Why is that important? Keeping the mind focused on what’s going on right now takes focus off of things that can cause depression, stress, anxiety and even pain.

I know first hand how knitting can help deal with depression, stress and anxiety. In my early 30’s I had a rough few years as I struggled with a still birth, an infant loss, family deaths and postpartum depression. It was a bittersweet time. Amid the sadness was great joy at the birth of my two daughters. During this period of my life I was in therapy, on anti-depressants and I knit.. a lot. The therapy stopped. The anti-depressants stopped. The knitting continued. Knitting wasn’t new to me. I’ve been knitting since I was 8 years old, but for the first time in my life I needed to knit. Knitting became so important to me that I wanted to share my passion and in 2007 I started this blog. Today knitting continues helps me  with my mental health.

We want to fill our lives with good habits and rid ourselves of bad ones. Did you know that knitting can replace an undesirable habit? Wouldn’t be great to stop smoking and replace it with lace shawls and soft baby blankets? Of course it’s probably not quite that easy but some studies have shown it can help. One study conducted said that subjects with eating disorders who began knitting, obsessed less about their disorder while knitting. Basically it helped keep them think about something other then eating. So knitting can be a great way to replace a bad habit with a good one, that is as long as you don’t get addicted. – more on that later.

This is the end of part one of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. I will post part two next Friday. There will be four parts.

Credits will be included in the last part of the article.