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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Using Your Hands to Improve Your Brain

What if there was an activity that can help mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, and chronic pain, which also makes you happy and protects your brain from aging? And which, by the way, is completely legal.

This is the psychological state known as flow, made known by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his 1990 book of the same name. Engaging in hand crafts such as painting, knitting, and woodworking can produce this condition. Briefly, when you're engrossed in an activity to the extent that you don't notice time or whatever else is going around you, that's flow. And according to researchers, flow produces the same benefits as meditation.

Doing an art or craft we enjoy stimulates the production of dopamine in our brains which makes us happy, and if we do it well, it also bolsters our sense of self-worth. Since doing something by hand involves many different areas of the brain, we are also bolstering brain connections which help fight aging.

With all the benefits of being involved with artistic pursuits, why not try a little painting after a tough day at work? It may just be the therapy you need.

This is an excellent article from CNN about creating handcrafted work and how your brain benefits.

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