I felt like I was going to die.
It was when I was still in high school. I had just been yelled at by the gym teacher—not a particularly uncommon thing for her to do, and most of the kids were used to it—but I’m sensitive, so it sent me into what I think most people would easily describe as a full blown panic attack.
The rest of my day was, as you might suspect, totally wrecked. After getting home, the first thing I wanted to do was relax… so I picked up my crochet hook and started fiddling around while watching bad daytime TV. After a while, I started to calm down and feel better.
I’ve been crocheting for nearly four years. During this time, I’ve noticed that whenever I’m stressed out (even if it’s nothing quite as scary as watching your P.E. teacher’s neck veins pulsate), I now find myself always turning to crochet when I want to relax.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one—crochet is way more popular than I thought as a method for people to relax, de-stress, and cope with their unique feelings of anxiety. It’s so effective that some counselors (PDF link) at the American Counseling Association have implemented it as a therapeutic activity for patients.
So… are you looking for a hobby to help cope with anxiety, stress, or bad days in general?
Then please, come along as I tell you how the wonderful craft of crochet has not only changed my life, but can change yours too…
A Creative Outlet That Keeps on Giving
Crochet is a craft that uses creativity, and with this creativity you can make and do many positive things. My soft spot is making stuffed animals, but of course you can make anything your heart desires.
One of my favorite things about this craft is the ability to not only make yourself happy, but others too—you can give your crochet items to friends, family, kids, etc. I’ve given away tons of crochet crafts before, and children especially love them (hand-made crafts are rare these days).
Learning crochet isn’t difficult. There are tons and tons of resources and guides online. In the beginning, you’re probably not going to be great at it… and that’s OK. Part of the fun is seeing your crochet improve over weeks, months, or even years.
Take a look around my site or hop on Pinterest to see what is possible with crochet.
You may have noticed the word “pattern” is used to describe instructions on how to make a crochet item. The name is very fitting, as crochet is an extremely repetitive motion. This may not be a big deal to you, but once you start crocheting you’ll notice the repetitive motion, which you focus on. This can really calm you down and relax you.
Don’t get me wrong either – just because the motion itself is repetitive doesn’t mean the craft is boring! As you build your project, you anticipate how fun it is to see your project some to life. If I’m feeling stressed out, I’ll often listen to music and crochet. Once I get in “the zone” I start to feel better, and before I know it, my project has come really far.
Speaking of the zone…
Repetitive motions and metal focus can lead a person into what is sometimes called a “flow state”.
A flow state is when you are completely immersed in your activity, so much so that you suddenly forget about time, your worries, your insurance payments, that mole your boss has on their nose that you can’t stop staring at and it’s really becoming a problem, etc. It’s where you’re completely focused in the present without worrying or giving thought to anything else.
Personally, I think this experience during crochet is what has improved my feelings of anxiety by miles. If you’re focused on the present and not the theoretical future or non existent past, you become at peace with yourself in the present.
Not to sound weird, but the past is gone and there is no getting it back. It’s gone and you are only you in the present. I know, it’s hippie talk, but if you allow yourself to think in those terms while crocheting, it’s likely you’ll reach relaxation and keep in the flow state. It’s like meditation.
A good thing about this is you actually make the most progress when in this state because not only are you really enjoying the project, you’re so focused that the project is made quicker. To maximize the flow state, try to stay away from any TV or music that may trigger your anxiety. Surround yourself with positive thinking, music, etc. I actually would suggest listening to some calming music, or watching positive crochet podcasters on Youtube!
Whether your anxieties come from school, work, or financial issues, this shouldn’t impact your hobby for crochet. This is because crochet is a fairly inexpensive craft compared to other hobbies. Once you purchase your hook (about 3 dollars) you’re set for a long time. The only expense is yarn, and if you’re fairly lenient about which yarn you like to use that can also be very inexpensive. The most common type of yarn people use for their projects is Red Heart Super Saver. You get a lot of yarn for about 3 dollars. This yarn is also very easily accessible since its available in most craft stores and even Walmart!
A FRIEND TO THE FRIENDLESS
Crochet is great because it’s a hobby that you can do yourself, or do with a group of people! So if you’re like me and on the shy side and prefer to keep to yourself, crochet can become your best friend!
I actually used to crochet at school a lot during lunch or down time. I didn’t really have friends, and wasn’t great with striking conversations, so learning to crochet and using that time to make something fun really helped get through the day. It can even peak people’s interest and they may ask about your cool hobby.
But if you’re a little less shy than I am, then you can totally find some others to crochet with. Maybe you can even try to convince one of your family members or friends to try it out with you.
BENEFITING THE COMMUNITY
One of the best things about this hobby is how it can not only benefit you, but benefit others! If you want to make some cute baby hats, toys, etc. but don’t have anyone to give it to, you can do some amazing good in the world by donating your handmade items to those in need. There are plenty of children, homeless, those in need who would be forever grateful for your generous heart. You can also surprise your parents or friends by making them something special!
I hope I convinced you to give this amazing craft a try!
It has truly been a “life changer” for me and so many others. Remember, crochet isn’t the solution to all anxiety/stress. It’s important to discuss important issues with a professional. This is just a great activity to help with those feelings.
If you want some examples of what you can make please browse my site where I offer all completely free crochet patterns you can make. Start by looking up “How to crochet” on video sites to see how easy it is to start crocheting… you’ll be so glad that you did.
Please feel free to contact me through a comment if you have any questions or need resources on how to start crocheting. Thanks so much for giving this a read!
I loved your story. I have dealt with ADD and anxiety my whole life. I was taught to crochet as a child by my Nana. It was meant to earn my merit badge for the Girl Scouts. Even being a South paw, I learned it well. I find it not only relaxing but inspirational. I now have my own small eBay business selling crochet animals, baby items, and other great gifts. I’ve donated to worthy causes as well, esp to the Veterans vis my local VFW chapter. My Nana would be proud.
Hi Tonya! Thank you very much for your comment. I think it’s amazing that you learned crochet at such a young age, as it was probably a great outlet for your creativity! I hope you have also experienced how therapeutic crochet can be 🙂 And I’m so happy that you’ve made crochet a part of your business. I’m sure you make so many people happy through not only business, but also your kindness in donating your work. Positivity like that is what truly makes the world a happier place! Thank you very much for your comment <3
This popped up in my Google recommended feed. PE teachers really were the worst!
I picked up crochet seriously for the first time this year as a hobby to do while all my other craft stuff is stuck in a spare room.
I’ve also been diagnosed with GAD and panic disorder for six years. I have medication now so the worst part was that I can dissociate. Basically, I get so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I lose track of everything else and kind of just stare into nothing and block out everything else.
Since I picked up crochet, I’ve also noticed it’s something I’ve reached for when I start to get those intrusive thoughts. I still can get stuck in a loop, but I can be crocheting while I think, and it helps ground me. Most of the time it’s just continuous rounds. Sometimes I’ll fasten it off for a simple coaster, but most of the time, I just… Unravel it. Like a mandala in a way. And it feels good.
Hi Jennifer, I’m happy to hear that you’ve found crochet to help you! It sounds like what you do is really peaceful and reminds me of a mandala like you mentioned 🙂 You could probably make wash cloths with the way you like to crochet. Your experience is really inspiring and is something I’m wanting to try for myself now. Thank you for sharing that, I hope you’ll be crocheting for many years to come <3
I saw this article on Google. I have suffered from sever depression all my adult life. Been to lots of different counselors and tried many different things for my depression. I started crocheting two years ago. It’s been the only thing that really helps take my mind off my depression and has worked wonders to lift me out of my funk.
Hi Lisa! I’m so happy that the art of crochet has been one of the things to help you with depression. That’s really amazing and I hope you continue your journey of crochet – it can take you far and transform little everyday things into something wonderful! I’m sure seeing little improvements in your crochet over the past two years much feel really rewarding. I know for me crochet helps give me some positive and stress free goals to set, and I think that’s beneficial to mental health. I hope you have a great day and happy crocheting!
I always thought grannys were ones who crocheted but my little sister started long before me and helped me learn. Even though she is right handed and im left! Now i love and it keeps me busy! You know what they say about “idle hands”!
Haha I know right! Now a days I wonder if younger folk do more crocheting than grannies? I wouldn’t be surprised, because crochet has gotten so popular especially in 2020 🙂 It’s wonderful that your little sister taught you how to crochet, now you’re “hooked” haha! Keep on crocheting, and I hope you find lots more cute things to make in this new year 🙂 🥰
I’m 12 with crazy anxiety, and I’m an introvert. Not a great combo in these days, but crochet helps so much. It sounds crazy, but I am also in theatre, and I practice my lines talking to the stuffed animals I have made crocheting. So it helps in so many different ways. These patterns are always sooo adorable, I love that they’re easy to understand and have clear instructions with easy stitches. I think that without crochet I would be different, and would talk less than I already do, and that is not a lot to begin with. Crochet has helped me reach out to others and I am so grateful to have found this site that makes this hobby easy to get by.
Thank you so much for sharing your talent and I hope you have a great rest of your year in spite of this chaos.