Reasons Why Crafting Can Help Fight Anxiety and Addiction (And Some Ideas of Hobbies That Can Do That)
Both anxiety and addiction are serious issues that impact millions of people, their loved ones’ lives, and their livelihoods each year. There is a significant overlap between the two.
If you are struggling with addiction as a result of anxiety or if you have developed anxiety as a result of your addiction, seeking help with the proper tools, resources, and programs can make all of the difference.
One way that individuals are coping is by getting creative. Hobbies such as crafting regularly can significantly help you on your recovery journey by facing your anxiety head-on.
Undo Potential Screen Time Damage
The rise of technology, the Internet, social media, and even electronic appliances has caused a drastic shift in just how much time society spends glued to a screen today. Screen time has increased by 5 times in the past 50 years (as much as 12 hours daily in the US.
If you find yourself struggling with your attention span and your ability to focus or if you have noticed that your anxiety and irritability have skyrocketed, consider an offline hobby such as crafting. Making a concerted effort to spend more time away from screens may provide your brain with time to relax and unwind, which can help you to keep mood swings and hormones in check.
Another side effect of too much screen time overstimulation can be insomnia, or the inability to get a good night’s rest. If you frequently have trouble sleeping, anxiety, and too much time in front of a screen (especially right before bed), step away from your screens. Set limits to how much time in front of a screen, consuming data, you’re allowed in a day.
Drastically reducing that time may help you to remain calm, focused, and motivate you away from using substance abuse to combat anxiety and sleeplessness.
Cognitive Activities Can Help Reduce Disease
Participating in crafting or other cognitive activities could reduce your chances of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by up to 50% later on in life. MCI includes language, memory, judgment, and thinking.
When you regularly participate in hobbies that require creativity and the use of your cognitive abilities, you also help your brain to create new connections and pathways as you steer clear of previous anxiety triggers and addictions.
- Find a hobby that you enjoy or that you are passionate about.
- Create a schedule for that hobby that works for you and gives you time to regularly participate in it.
- Even if you are currently working, managing a household, or going to school, it is important to set time apart for creative crafting regularly to effectively fight your anxiety and addiction.
- Set aside at least one hour each day to craft and give your brain a break from the constant barrage of information, images, and communications.
- Turn your phone down or set it to vibrate for a sense of peace and tranquility as you craft.
When you find a hobby that is truly right for you, getting in the zone and into the creative flow will come much easier and feel natural.
Crafty Ways to Break Free From Anxiety and Addiction
Even if you do not believe that you are a creative individual by nature, it does not take much effort or money to dive into exploring potential crafts that may bring you the peace and relief that you need.
Some crafting hobbies include:
- Painting. Use acrylics, oils, pastels, or watercolors to design landscapes, cartoons, or even hyper-realistic paintings of your favorite people, or pets, or scenes. Or explore abstract designs. Painting can provide major stress relief, especially if you allow yourself to go with the flow.
- Sewing, knitting, and crocheting. Manipulating materials and thread are an optimal crafting hobby that is relaxing and can be done year-round. It can even be practical in the colder months if you craft a wearable garment or scarf.
- Resin crafts and resin pours. Create trinkets, paperweights, and sculptures with resin.
- Woodworking and wood-burning. Build birdhouses, mailboxes, benches, and more from wood and create or transfer intricate designs on them with wood-burning tools.
- Scrapbooking. Bind family or personal memories into a scrapbook by collating and pasting letters, photos, small items, flowers, leaves, and plants found in nature. Create scrapbooks to share special experiences, occasions, and personal accomplishments (such as a new job, marriages or births, even addiction recovery) with loved ones and friends.
Eliminate Urges and Potential Temptations
Crafting redirects your complete attention to creative matters instead of your anxieties, freeing your mind by exercising different parts of your brain. It makes it much easier to steer clear of temptations and potential triggers.
For those who are enrolled in an alcohol and drug rehab treatment program, crafting-related hobbies are often included in treatment program recreation. A new hobby helps to pass the time while also rewiring your brain away from addiction and anxiety.
Relieve Everyday Stress
Creative hobbies also help to relieve stress, another mood disorder closely associated with substance abuse. You may also begin to feel more purpose in your life, an excellent way to remain focused and on a path that is healthy and beneficial for you in both the short and long-term.
Provide Your Brain With a Healthy Dopamine Source
Addiction hijacks the brain, artificially raising levels of the brain chemical dopamine. Once the body becomes used to these higher levels, the body stops producing it on its own. At that point, if you stop using the drug (or develop a tolerance to it), the body no longer makes enough dopamine to feel normal.
Mental health issues, such as anxiety and stress, can decrease your body’s ability to produce dopamine, too.
When an individual is struggling, isolated, or feeling as if they have no hope, they are more likely to turn to alcohol, drugs, and other forms of escape to help them cope with their temporary situations.
Addiction and anxiety can lead individuals to self-destructive behavior, social isolation, mood imbalances, and in some cases, even suicide attempts.
New, creative hobbies, passions, and pursuits are a healthy means to help you increase your dopamine levels as well as relax and feel happy.
Finding a hobby that brings you joy is a healthy way to avoid self-defeating negative thoughts and environments that are destructive or dangerous. They can keep you focused on a clean and sober path for your future life.
Getting Started With Crafting
If you are unsure of where, to begin with, crafting, look at some crafting and home magazines or websites to find inspiration. Social media platforms such as Pinterest as well as ColourLovers also can get your creative juices and energies flowing There are also forums where people share designs.
When you feel comfortable with the medium you have chosen, you can get in touch with your inner creative senses as you retrain your mind, body, and brain to live free from anxiety and addiction.
Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.
- enchantedbellaboutique.com – Crafting helps with depression & anxiety
- countryliving.com – Health Benefits of Crafting
- functionalneurologyminute.com – Regular crafting helps undo the damage from screentime
- nih.gov – Engaging in cognitive activities, aging, and mild cognitive impairment: a population-based study
- thebeardmag.com – 5 Reasons Why Having a Hobby is Good for Your Addiction Recovery
- mayoclinic.org – Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)