Thought Leaders//

How Crafting Can Alleviate Stress

Cricut CEO Ashish Arora breaks down crafting’s positive impact on the mind.

GETTY IMAGES
GETTY IMAGES

There’s something special about the start of a new year and the mindset that comes with looking to the future. When we pause and think about what’s ahead and any new resolutions we wish to hold ourselves to, we are really reflecting on the past and aspects of our lives that we feel could be better. This is the beauty of looking inward, listening to yourself and being mindful of the present moment.

With 2020 just beginning, there are so many opportunities to make positive changes to bring balance and a sense of self-accomplishment to your life. This is where crafting comes in. From one generation to the next, crafting as a form of artistic and emotional expression has been a constant in the lives of so many—it’s almost primitive. 

As the CEO of Cricut, a creative technology company, I am lucky to be able to witness the power of crafting firsthand and what it means to people every day. One of the highlights of my job is interacting with our community on social media where millions of people from different backgrounds share their crafting projects and the stories that inspired their designs. Oftentimes, a consistent theme behind these posts is that many people look to crafting to help them through challenges in their lives. 

The benefits of crafting are substantial. 

In fact, studies have shown that crafting can greatly support those who struggle with anxiety, depression, pain or diminishing cognitive function. It helps relieve stress, boost self-esteem, improve focus and aid in mindfulness, while resulting in something tangible to feel proud about. As a creative outlet, crafting serves as a cathartic channel for navigating emotions and stepping away from the pressures of daily life, allowing you to enjoy a more productive and overall relaxed state-of-mind. Furthermore, crafting’s positive effects on the body include lowering heart rate and blood pressure, as well as reducing cortisol, a prominent hormone responsible for stress. 

Whether it’s the act of making or the project being made, crafting can be one of the most therapeutic and uplifting activities to engage the mind and body in a healthy way. I certainly know that across the Cricut community alone, this sentiment is celebrated. 

Over and over again, I receive messages from people suffering from all kinds of illnesses—mental or physical—telling me about how crafting has become a source of joy and hope in their healing. From members who are battling cancer to dealing with dementia or the loss of a loved one, crafting has been a through line in their journey toward mental wellness and their posts online, in turn, underscore that connection. By promoting spaces for people to ask questions, publish content and interact with likeminded individuals, I am constantly reminded of how crafting can be an instrumental support system for those who need one. 

That being said, these experiences are not purely anecdotal and are recognized outside of the crafting community. A 2012 survey conducted by The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences showed the positive effects of brain function on the elderly, while a 2013 survey from the British Journal of Occupational Therapists revealed how knitting can increase dopamine levels and promote calmness in day-to-day life. 

It’s for this notion that I’m proud to work with a brand that encourages creativity in a way that promotes mental health awareness, a topic that is gaining more and more visibility in the public eye. The best thing we can do as a company to make a difference is to create an experience that makes it easy for people to do what they never thought they could, while inspiring them to embrace their creative voice and live in the moment. 

While crafting is not a substitute for professional help such as therapy or medication, it is certainly a worthwhile addition that is fun to explore from the comfort of your own home. Whether it’s about you or making something special for someone else, crafting can free your mind and help you take control of your mental health one project at a time.  

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