Want To Increase Happiness? Try Knitting

Want To Increase Happiness? Try Knitting

In this day and age, it can be hard to find something to do while our attention is half given to our precious screens, be they big or tiny. That’s probably why knitting is becoming more and more popular. It’s the thing to do while you’re already doing something, and it can actually have mental health benefits.

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Most of the research surrounding yarncraft is based on surveying people who already do it. It’d be interesting to see what the results would be if you took people who initially hated the idea and got them to try it out. But even if it doesn’t take, you could probably substitute it with some other handcraft that takes the same amount on mental energy and get the same benefits. I wouldn’t mind making some chain mail while watching TV, but I’d also love the opportunity to knit some items with a Triforce or Protoss symbol on them.

But for the many knitters out there, it has been shown to increase calm and reduce negative thoughts. Knitters are more prepared for stressors when they come along. Even Russell Crowe uses it as an anger management technique.

Tasks that take a certain amount of brain energy can be somewhat meditative. Even washing the dishes can feel that way.

And hey, there’s even an Australian group set up specifically to knit with other people and talk about mental health. That’d be a great place to get started. It’s called Neural Knitworks, and people get all the normal benefits of knitting out of it (including cool stuff at the end), plus camaraderie.


  • I am more a cross stitch man myself. I sometimes do so on the train, and had a person come up to me and say “You are the first male cross stitcher I have met”, to which I replied “You need to get out more”.

    Sometimes men have social boundaries to creating hand crafts that do not require power tools. In my opinion, as a male who does such things, we offer a different take compared to females using the same skills.

    Take cross stitching, the skill I am best at (I can also knit and crochet). I find my works are more mathematical and symmetrical, and it is much easier for me to work through a complex, pre-set pattern. My female colleagues tend to be more free flowing and creative in terms of originality, even with set designs.

    You don’t have to do hand crafts to get similar effects though. I find simple logic puzzles, like Pixel Puzzles or Suguru, published by the Puzzler company, have similar effects. Sudoku, the more famous puzzle, could also work, I just find them a little bit too boring for my tastes. :-S

    • Do you get negative comments about doing ‘feminine’ crafts? I feel like women are given more leeway (and are even encouraged) to do ‘masculine’ things.

      • It’s not a popular or even arguably acceptable thing to say, but Western society at the moment is great at empowering young girls (“You can do anything!”) while making directionless young guys (“Don’t do…”).

        Sure, I get that in the past our treatment and establishment of gender rights and equality has been a problem. I get that still there are issues of pay and promotional bias. I get that domestic violence and violent crimes are often done by men against women. None of that is good.

        I just wish that gender equality meant just that, gender equality for both sexes. I’m all for empowering women. I just wish men would not be ignored or discouraged to try and achieve that goal. Ultimately, no one wins from doing such things, in my opinion.

        If a woman wants to work in a “male” orientated career, like engineering or IT, then sometimes large concessions are made to try and achieve that goal.

        If a man wants to work in a “female” orientated career, like nursing or secretarial duties or early childhood work, then… well, they are not always as empowered to do so.

        It’s just frustrating and saddening to see the message to young men that have a list of “don’ts” while young women have a list of “dos”.

        I want people to do what is best and most empowering for them, regardless of gender or stereotype, or perhaps even despite of it. A female carpenter brings a different viewpoint to the profession, just as much as a male primary school teacher does.

        To directly answer your question, I don’t get directly negative comments about the crafts I do. On a one to one, person to person thing, people are too polite. But do some people do a double take because I don’t always do what is expected? Absolutely. :-S

  • Is the left side guy trying to knit the edge of a crocheted scarf ? Fake ! He’s got the wrong tools !

    • Your right. There is no thread trailing off and the gap between his stitches is too wide if he wants his output to be consistent. :-\

  • I teach men I. Jail how to knit. It’s called knitting behind bars. Once they stop worrying about how to knit and starting to k it you can see a visible change in these inmates.
    I have taught upwards of 400.guys to knit and to man they are thrilled with the skills and the benefits of the craft. Talk about a rough crowd ! Once they begin to knit they laugh at the feminine connotations. This I’d definitely a testosterone fueled group
    I’m convinced if knitting works for felons it’ll work for anyone. Google us for photos of these big mistake le bound guys knitting awzy.

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