Black aida with threads and chart

Are you looking for another reason to learn or keep doing cross stitch, or wondering why you’re so obsessed with it? There’s many reasons it’s been popular for hundreds of years, and science is telling us why we love it so much.

Cross Stitch for Mental Health: Our Therapeutic Journey

Back in 1988, Sandy was a young mum with a toddler and a 2-month-old baby, who had just moved to a new city for hubby’s work.

Two days later, with barely any boxes unpacked, her brother was tragically killed in a massive industrial accident. He wasn’t recovered for nearly 6 months.

It was a time of immense trauma. But, just a few weeks later she was lucky enough to find cross stitch.

Or perhaps cross stitch found her. And each tiny stitch helped her cope with the demands of life over the next year. It’s hard to even think about that time without thinking about the pieces that were completed.

Multiple studies link working with your hands to create something, particularly those with repetitive motions, to improved mental health. If you’ve done any crafts, you’ll probably recognise yourself in some of the findings.

Of course, we’ve linked it all to cross stitching because it takes such concentration to place the stitches in the right place and form them evenly. And then do it again and again. And again. Bliss in every stitch 😊

1.      Cross Stitch Helps Improve Anxiety and Depression

Cross-stitch, with its methodical and repetitive nature, helps bring about a sense of calm and happiness.

A study shared by CNN suggests that crafting, including activities like cross-stitch, can significantly alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression.

The focused attention and repetitive motion involved in cross-stitching can lead to the release of serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer, bringing about a sense of tranquility and joy.

It mentions a study of over 3,500 knitters where “81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling ‘very happy.’

2.      Cross Stitch Helps Unravel Stress

Cross-stitch isn’t just a creative outlet; it’s also a form of stress relief.

The process of following a pattern and seeing a design come to life can be incredibly satisfying and therapeutic.

It engages the mind in a positive way, helping to reduce stress hormones and promote a state of well-being.

3.      Cross-Stitch Helps With Flow State and Happiness

A 2019 BBC Arts Great British Creativity Test of around 50,000 people said creativity could help block out stress. More people ‘make’ than use music for their creativity. And longer you ‘make’ for, the more effectively your brain blocks negative emotions.

Repetitive ‘making’ like cross-stitch stands out not only for its beauty and precision but also for its ability to induce a ‘flow state’ in crafters.

This state, often referred to as the secret to happiness is often described as being ‘in the zone’, – a state where time seems to stand still and your worries fade away.

It’s a deeply immersive and meditative experience that can significantly enhance feelings of happiness and mental well-being.

4.        Cross-Stitch Cares for Your Brain

Did you know that cross-stitch can also have cognitive benefits?

It can help in maintaining cognitive functions and protecting against conditions like dementia.

The mental engagement required to follow complex patterns and count stitches helps keep the brain active and healthy.

5.      Cross Stitch Can Grow Community

One of the most beautiful aspects of cross-stitch is its ability to connect people.

Whether it’s through online forums or local crafting groups, cross-stitch can create a sense of community and belonging.

Sharing patterns, tips, and finished projects with fellow stitchers can be a wonderful way to combat loneliness and build meaningful connections. And, often it’s only fellow stitchers who’ll understand the joy of completion! A dozen likes on your new finish can really make your day 😊

What’s Not to Love?

We can personally vouch for everything in this post. So, as you pick up your needle and thread, remember that with every stitch, you’re not only adding to your beautiful design but also enriching your mental health.

References

Crafts Council​​

CreativeLive​​ 


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Our Free Printable Cross Stitch Ruler

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