craft + social
Getting crafty can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. Even just gardening or sewing releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant. Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress… And it can also help you process trauma.
Time and time again I hear people in my life say "I'm not very creative." or "I'm not very crafty." This breaks my heart. We are all creative beings.
Think back to your childhood. What did you really love to play with? Maybe it was dolls. Dressing them up, playing house. Maybe it was Legos. Building and creating your own world. What about Playdoh? Who didn't love the days of squishing and mixing the colors? Don't forget about all the art projects your young little mind whipped up.
Now, think about your life today. How often are you making time for play? Maybe it's not toys (or maybe it is!) Do you like to cook? Or how about gardening? Putting together a rockin outfit? Think about the last time you tapped into your creativity and how it made you feel. Sometimes we just forget how to play.
Human beings are inherently social beings. Socialization, or enjoying other people's company and maintaining a sense of connectedness to others, is an important component of stress reduction.
Think about the last time you hung out with your favorite people. Did it make you feel happy afterwards? Or how about this; you're out running errands at your favorite store, (ok, we all know that it's Target), and you run into a neighbor/kids friends mom/random stranger, and you have a quick conversation, maybe share a laugh. How did you feel afterwards? Maybe a boost of happiness? Or even better; you're not in the mood for chit-chat, but out of politeness, you do so anyways. Afterwards you feel curiously happier. Why?
Here comes the science-y stuff... positive social interactions releases a hormone called oxytocin which functions to decrease anxiety levels. It also helps us to live longer. Research has shown that by interacting with others, we actually train our brains. Social motivation and social contact can help to improve memory formation and recall and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases.
The bottom line? craft + social is really good for you.