Chop, Craft and Create to Cope and remain Calm
I read a fascinating book a few years ago, co-written by a husband and wife team. I remember that he was a hand surgeon and she was a psychiatrist and analyst. But as much as I wracked my brain, I could not remember the title. But, I did remember the main point of the book- using your hands to create or fix things reduces depression and anxiety.
Enter my good friend Google where I found the title. The Creativity Cure by Carrie and Alton Barron.
The hands are intricate pieces of the body’s machinery. So much that 60% of the brain’s outer surface (the cortex) is dedicated to the hands. Far less is devoted to big areas like the back, and legs and arms.
And in this age of take out and texting and passive forms of entertainment, we are collectively using our hands less and less. The two authors have 40 years of combined professional proof that using your hands daily can bring feelings of well being and happiness.
You do not have to consider yourself creative to get on board. Chopping veggies, putting together puzzles, adult coloring books all qualify.
I have never understood why cursive handwriting had been taken away from school curriculum. It is an elegant hand motion and fires up those brain neurons. Alton Barron (the surgeon) stated in an interview that we need to keep using our hands to keep stimulating our brains.
Now I understand why chopping fruits and veggies and fruits HAS always had a calming affect on me. And each blog that you read, started out in longhand form first. On paper with a smooth writing pen.
Many of my clients have seen this link themselves. One of my clients gets to feeling down if she does not get regular time in her studio crafting paper art. Another client has started a morning hand written journaling practice and has kept it up for two years and counting. When he misses a few days, he feels out of balance.
Back in the old days, many women would sew or knit at night and men would tinker and fix things. Kids were more hands on as well.
When I work with kids and teens, I bring along things for them to do with their hands. Coloring or tracing or sticker art, etc. This has a positive and immediate impact.
Modern life is taking this away but there is a movement to bring it back. Many millennials are becoming DIY people and Pinterest proves this.
Why not explore how this can be beneficial in your life? Find a hobby or practice that utilizes use of your hands. And see how it impacts your sense of satisfaction and well being. This can become a family project, too and you can pass on fun traditions to the next generation.
Using your hands every day
Helps to chase the blues away