The mental health benefits of knitting and crocheting, along with jam making and other crafts, have been recently acknowledged in an article by Tom Ough,published in the Telegraph on 26h. November 2016.
In it he discusses the findings of a study undertaken at Otago University, New Zealand which produced evidence of the mental health benefits of knitting and crocheting-
"Knitting, crocheting and jam-making have never been associated with great thrills – but, it turns out, they work wonders for wellbeing.
A study has found that people who participate in arts and crafts feel happier, calmer and more energetic the next day.
The activities which the researchers listed also included cooking, baking, performing music, painting, drawing, sketching, digital design and creative writing.
All have in common that they are relaxed and creative.
Many of the more traditional activities cited by the researchers are popular with Women’s Institute members.
Janice Langley, chairman of the National Federation of Women's Institutes, told the Daily Mail: "WI members have enjoyed creative activities and crafts since the very first WI meeting in 1915, so it's great to hear this study has found some evidence that these interests could lead to increased wellbeing and creativity.
"We'd encourage everyone thinking of giving a new project a try just to get involved."
The WI, which counts the Queen among its members, is enjoying something of a renaissance. It celebrated its centenary last year and has more than 212,000 members.
The study took place at Otago University, New Zealand, where 658 students were asked to keep diaries of their experiences and emotional states over 13 days.
Dr Tamlin Connor, study’s lead author, said: “There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning.
“However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional well-being.
“Engaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day.
“Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”
The study, which was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, found that the students showed more enthusiasm and “flourishing” – a mental health term describing happiness and meaning – in the days following creative activities.
Health Benefits of Hobbies, an article by Marie Cannon
Help yourself and others by Knitting for Charity
If you would like to find out more about the therapeutic effects of knitting you might be interested to read this excellent book,"Knit for Health & Wellness," written by Betsan Corkill who has carried out much research in this area.