Find joy in making, I like to say, because I truly want us to find joy in creating, in using our hands and minds to produce something uniquely made. I especially want us to find joy in making with this special cashmere yarn, bringing honor to the final step of the yarn's voyage from shepherds' hands to our own.
Recently, however, I'm reminded that knitting (and making) can offer the mind, body, and spirit a multitude of benefits beyond joy. Research and anecdotal evidence from knitters tell us that knitting reduces depression and anxiety (lowers blood pressure, relaxes us, helps us to cope with difficult situations); helps slow the onset of dementia and distracts us from chronic pain (can even help arthritis in hands by keeping them moving); increases the sense of well-being (allowing for creativity, self-achievement, reducing loneliness and isolation, providing community, inclusiveness and purpose). That's a lot! And in an age where social media, technology, and television are hindering our ability to focus, it might help us restore that ability too - through breaking habits and addictions by engaging the mind and hands.
Stitchlinks is a non-profit organization whose website details the ways that we can benefit from knitting. They work, in fact, to integrate knitting into British health care programs. They provide an interesting 'Knitting Equation Chart', a formulaic means of explaining knitting outcomes: physical hand movement (exercising hand muscles and brain -body connections) + enriched environments of creativity and relaxation + social engagement with friendship and community possible, while also noting that knitting is portable -- we can take it with us to continually reap its benefit.