Is crocheting the new mindfulness meditation?

When I was younger I loved to crochet. I could whip out a queen-size blanket in two months.

Everybody in my family received hand-made afghans as gifts.

My blanket production came to a screeching halt when my husband brought home a kitten for me on my birthday one year.

After the cat came into the house it was impossible to crochet. He would pounce on the ball of yarn and attack the shiny crochet needle in my hand every chance he got. It was so difficult that I finally gave up crocheting.

Fourteen years later, I still have the cat and the half finished blanked in a bag somewhere but, not the husband. Oh well, I guess that’s just the way the afghan crumbles…. I do have very fond memories of crocheting and still miss doing it but, I won’t attempt it with the cat still around.

The one thing that I recall most about my love of crocheting was how calming it was. Now that I think about it – it did feel like mindfulness meditation. I was reminded of this time in my life when I came across an article about “beading being similar to doing a mindfulness meditation.” The way the author described beading brought back similar memories for me of crocheting:

“Each off-loom beadweaving stitch has its own rhythm that feels like a meditation or a chant. Breathe in, stitch a bead, breathe out. That’s probably why I turned to my beadweaving when I got home from the office after a hard day. Not only was it soothing to handle those shiny, beautiful little beads, but being able to sit down and focus on something else for an hour was the best way for me to set aside my problems and relax.”

I too turned to crocheting in the evenings to relax and focus on something aside from the stressful events of the day. I have a dear friend who is into beading and makes gorgeous jewelry. She says the same thing. It relaxes her and feels “meditative.”

While I am a devoted meditator and enjoy it very much, I realize I miss crocheting. I miss the feel of the yarn in my fingers and the rhythmic movement of the needle going through the “loops” and growing afghan. Now that winter is coming I miss the feeling of cozy warmth from having the afghan tucked around me. I also miss creating something I can give as a gift and the relaxation that came with crocheting.

What is it about doing these activities that is so addictive? I came across another article that basically said that people who meditate remain focused in the present, which we all pretty much know by now. What I found fascinating though, was that the scientific study cited in this article showed that people who meditate faithfully have been found to be happier people. Aha! “That must be it,” I thought.

When we remain focused on the present moment we don’t ruminate over the past or ponder the future. Those types of thought patterns are what set people off emotionally.

If you’re constantly reliving the past and feeling upset or remorseful you’re going to be unhappy because you cannot change the past. If you dwell on what is yet to come you’re probably going to worry and be fearful about the future. Worry and fear most certainly contribute to unhappiness.

No wonder we find these crafts so relaxing and even “addictive.” They make us feel good as they work like a “mindfulness meditation” to keep us in the present moment.

“Meditation’s ability to help people stay in the moment has been part of philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands of years. Conversely, the hallmarks of many forms of mental illness is a preoccupation with one’s own thoughts, a condition meditation seems to affect.”

After reading these two articles my mind jumped to two people I know who are supremely negative and constant worriers. The one thing that jumped out at me was that neither one of them meditates or has a “hobby” they enjoy doing. I wondered if I could introduce them to crocheting or beading? Would it help to calm their minds? Would they be happier as a result?

I’m now racking my brain to try to figure out a way I can nonchalantly introduce them to crocheting to observe whether either of them becomes happier…hmm.

What do you think about crocheting being the new mindfulness meditation? Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Does it feel meditative and calm you down when you’re doing it?

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Photo credit: Photbucket

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