Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crafting=The Antidote to Our Dependence on Antidepressants?

Years ago when I was living and working in the rat race of Washington, DC, I had little or no crafting in my life.

I worked. I worked out. I went out. Something was dreadfully missing, but I didn't know what.

It was until I left that world that I realized that what was missing from my life was good old fashioned handiwork.

Really, I should have realized it long before I did. Every once in a while when I'd take some kind of creativity class (cooking, soapmaking, etc.), I'd come away happier, lighter. But, at the time, these things weren't part of my everyday life, so as soon as the class was over, so was that little rush.

When I left "that world", I started crafting (I've dabbled in all sorts of things over the years--you know how it goes, if you are a crafter, you get obsessed with something for a while and then onto something new.) and I was happier. More relaxed. Less obsessed.

It's a lesson I learn over and over again. Life interrupts my creativity. For example, for a good six weeks while I was re-entering the work world and moving, I didn't have any creativity in my life (with the exception of writing and shooting some photos of my kids). I was functioning--but something was missing. I didn't realize it until my toddler handed me my knitting needles and some yarn (man, my girls are so smart!) and I seized the moment to cast on some stitches. Honestly, it was this instant relaxation for me. I remembered. And, now, while life has not yet (will it ever?) slowed down, I am trying to incorporate some of this into my life. I'm baking bread again. I'm drawing with my daughter. I'm knitting. Just here and there - but it is something.

Well, I cannot tell you how excited I was to read in the June issue of WholeLiving that there is actually some science to this. According to neuroscientist Kelly Lambert (no relation) at Virginia's Randolph-Macon College, hands-on work satisfies our primate craving to create solid objects. She also says (I love this) that, "It's like taking mental-health vitamins, building up resilience--our ability to bounce back from hardship--by reminding our brains that we can have some impact on the world around us."

So, all my fellow crafters--and aspiring crafters -- get crafting -- doctor's orders.

1 comment:

  1. so very those first moments when I settle down with my knitting....similar to those first moments when I walk on the beach. The important thing is to discover your drug as early in your life as possible..