By Bethan Grimshaw
It’s the new year. A time for self-reflection on what changes we want to make that will improve our lives. For many people, this might mean starting a new hobby, or trying a new skill. Research has found that spending a couple of hours a week on a focused hobby can have numerous benefits to our mental health and wellbeing. This is largely due to it invoking a state of “flow”, a term coined by physiologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to describe a state of hyper-focus in which the individual is “fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity”.
Some of the positive effects experienced by people who enter “flow” are:
- Feelings of inner clarity and serenity
- Enhanced concentration
- Improved productivity
- Increased feelings of motivation
- A sense of trust in one’s ability to complete a task
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved perseverance when presented with challenges
Some theorise that these benefits may be caused by a combination of increased activity in the brain’s dopamine reward system, and a slowing-down of the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for higher cognitive function, resulting in feelings of time distortion, loss of self-consciousness, and loss of our “inner-critic”.
Research has shown a strong correlation between Flow and creative activities, such as craft, and studies indicate Flow is most beneficial when done as part of a group. So the good news is that all you need to do to experience these benefits for yourself is to come along to our weekly 2 hour sessions!
It is so important to take care of our mental health, and craft is a great mindful activity to help with this. We also provide a friendly, inclusive space to meet like minded people and make friends. We alternate between meeting 2-4 in Meeting Room 4, and 3-5 in Room 76 (café at Falmer House) every Wednesday. Some of our past crafts have included weaving, cross-stitching, pom-pom making, and designing coasters. This term will feature crafts such as macrame, paper flower making, mini dream catcher making, decoupage, and much more. Follow us on our facebook page @sussexcraftsociety to stay up-to-date with our events. We hope to see you soon.
Image credit: Piqsels