Using Sewing as a Way to Activate a Healthy Mind
By Jess Walter
When asked what the six features of successful aging are, participants aged 60 to 93 responded with, “a sense of purpose, interactions with others, personal growth, self-acceptance, autonomy and health.” While there are many ways in which aging people choose to fulfill and challenge themselves within these six categories, a sense of purpose and personal growth can be accomplished by taking up a new craft hobby. Sewing is great for just this, as it allows you to cultivate a sense of accomplishment by completing new projects while also providing you with a way to destress and activate and improve your memory.
Hobbies Help with Stress Relief
Chronic stress in adults increases the risk of heart disease, heartburn and many other health problems, making it especially important for older adults to manage their stress and engage in activities that help them relax. The meditative action of sewing is great, as it is about performing similar, repeated actions that will keep hands and minds occupied, thus encouraging feelings of relaxation. This is actually one form of meditation as one is forced to concentrate on one particular task in order to become truly immersed in the activity and let their worries and stresses fade away. In this way, sewing promotes mindfulness and can lead to a reduced feeling of stress and anxiety, allowing one to focus more on the other areas of successful aging in order to craft a well-rounded life.
Photo by pina messina on Unsplash
Fighting Mental Deterioration
As is the case with any type of craft or artistic endeavor, sewing requires creativity, which improves the brain’s ability to grow new brain cells. Seeing as mental deterioration is a direct result of a lost connection between neurons, sewing can promote mental growth in this aspect, as it will force one to activate areas of their memory and brain that they might not otherwise. They’ll learn how to remember specific steps in order to sew what they want to create, and this helps exercise the brain while keeping the mind clear, focused and active. Learning how to work the sewing machine will help with this, as learning new things also helps activate areas of the brain necessary to increase mental activity. As an added plus, craft activities tend to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, which can leave one feeling more positive in order to fight periods of boredom and depression that some aging people report feeling.
Creativity and Aging
There is no limit to the number of health benefits one can experience by engaging in sewing as a hobby. Creativity and aging go hand in hand as engaging in an artistic craft such as sewing can give you a sense of accomplishment that also helps to keep the mind busy. They’ll likely notice an improvement in hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities and concentration as well. The various types of hand-made gifts they’ll be able to give to their family and loved ones are just the extra icing on top of the cake.