[Update 2020: In this time of great global turmoil, job losses, and isolation due to the new social distancing norms brought on by the virus, depression is more a threat than ever before. We wanted to republish this extremely popular article we wrote a couple of years ago about how sewing fights depression. Please share it with your friends, especially the older people in your life, who are likely to be more isolated than ever.]
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 350 million people worldwide who suffer from depression. It is also found out that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to men. The thing is –anyone can get depression and that includes you and me.
Indeed, people around the globe can get depressed regardless of their socioeconomic standing or age. This is not exactly a very encouraging piece of news but it is also a fact that we can combat depression and one of the ways in doing so is to take up a craft like sewing. You can literally Sew Your Blues Away!
Many studies indicate that sewing is good for both our mental and physical wellbeing. Just to reiterate, aside from the obvious benefits of sewing like having an up-to-date and well-fitting wardrobe or getting rid of missing buttons, it is also good for your health!
When we focus all our physical and mental facilities on a sewing project, we stop worrying about our everyday problems like paying utilities, issues at the office or family conflicts. And although these problems do not necessarily go away, we do not let them bring us down and we allow ourselves time to rebuild. And in the end, we have a new dress in the closet too;)
Crafts like sewing allow us to relax from the pressures of daily life. Simply speaking, it makes us feel good. It is also a very useful craft to pass on to our kids. Nowadays, there are so many low-quality clothes available in the stores. And most young people just buy them and wear them a few times then forget about them. The day may even come when “disposable” clothes will come in fashion. Think of the strain that will give our environment. You can be sure that if people learn to sew their own clothes, they also look at clothes in a completely different way. They will start to notice the work that goes into it and the quality of the fabric, notions, and style that comes with the dress.
Sewing Helps the Brain
Studies show that sewing helps develop a hand to eye coordination that is good for the brain. It also keeps ours fingers agile and nimble. In addition, it is always good for our self-esteem when we mend our daughter’s clothes and watch her wear it again and again. If you have never done this, try it, it sure feels great and that is good for the heart too.
In short, mentally engaging movement helps to break the cycle of negative thoughts, as well as allowing the brain to recover and improve by generating newer, healthier brain cells. Specialists state that an engaging hobby is often more effective than just taking an antidepressant, which typically targets only one neurotransmitter. While sewing not only heals, it also improves the brain's resistance to future bouts of depression by reminding our brains that we have an impact on the world around us. Neuroscientist Kelly Lambert, author of Lifting Depression supports this conclusion when he said: “Hands-on work satisfies our primal craving to create solid objects and it could also be an antidote to our cultural malaise(unhappiness).”
Sewing is fulfilling because we can see the end result. It could be the curtain that is now hanging in your window or the dress that your daughter will be wearing on her graduation day. It is also great for your social life. If you enroll in a sewing course, you will meet new friends.
And with sewing becoming popular again, you can also join any of the hundreds or thousands of sewing circles on the internet. In some places, you can find sewing circles meeting regularly to collectively do a project, host a get-together or simply compare notes.
Here at So Sew Easy, we have a large and active online chat group and sewing circle with some 30,200 members. I'd like to think that this helps all our members with a healthy sense of community. I know it certainly helps me. If you'd like to join, just pop over and see us:
So if you feel like the strains of everyday life is getting to you, just take out your sewing machine and fabric and start to sew your blues away!
If you need someplace to start, here's a handy list of easy sewing projects for beginners.
Do you agree that sewing helps the brain and fights depression? I'm certainly convinced. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
If you know someone who could benefit from sewing their blues away, don't forget to share this article with them. Perhaps they'll too get started on this wonderful pastime we all love so much and be all the better for it.
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