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  • Writer's pictureAnjum Madan

The Benefits of Crafting on Cognitive Health

Welcome back to my series on the benefits of crafting on our health! In case you missed it, check out the first article in the series – physical health.

So that we all start off on the same page, cognitive health is about the ability to think and make decisions. A lot of time conversations around cognition revolve around aging and oftentimes illnesses such as dementia.

One of the most interesting pieces of research I came across was conducted by Bruce L. Miller, M.D. He found that the changes in the brain that occur due to dementia can actually increase creativity and artistic ability – and encouraging patients to use this developing ability can lead to a positive impact on their quality of life. Isn’t that fascinating? To me, it is a lovely thought that while they may be losing a lot of the aspects of the life they used to lead, if they can be encouraged to develop this artistic ability – they can gain a new skill and lead a life that is fulfilled in other ways.

Another aspect of the research I did focused on the use of creative hobbies to maintain cognitive ability – leading to a lower likelihood to experience mild cognitive impairments that are often associated with aging. Creative hobbies can be a literal workout for your brain.

Painting, as an example, works out your decision-making skills. You need to determine what colour to use next – which brush – do you need to add more light or dark to get the desired effect. Other crafts, such as crochet, cross-stitch, or paint by numbers, involve following a pattern. In order to successfully complete a project in those crafts, you need to understand the instructions and execute them. Others involve thoughtful experimentation. Paint pouring has become pretty popular, and one of the most fun parts about it is not knowing how it is going to turn out in the end. It requires a lot of playing to learn how the colours will interact – and more often than not, the artist themselves will not know what the final piece will look like at the onset.

Did you find this interesting? Have you tried any of the crafts mentioned here? I’d love to know if you have and if you recognized some of the benefits you may have experienced. Let me know in the comments or head on over to the Facebook group and join in the conversation!

Come back next Monday to check out the final part of this series – showcasing the effects of crafting on our mental health.

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