Because of the highly engaged nature of creating projects like macrame, an arts and crafts hobby stimulates cognitive function like a workout for the mind.
Anyone who spent time creating an arts and crafts project can attest to this activity’s benefits for keeping the mind occupied, passing time with a beautiful finished product as a reward.
But could a frequent arts and crafts habit also keep our minds stimulated enough to keep memory problems at bay?
In this article, we go over:
The lifestyle changes that occurred during the pandemic posed a unique risk for people with dementia and those predisposed to it. Interruptions to routines that allowed social interactions and cognitive stimulation led to the quickening of memory and thinking problems, causing a shocking level ofdecline for people with dementia.
Dementia describes symptoms that affect memory and general functioning. A person with dementia may find it difficult to remember things, process thoughts and make decisions in a way that interferes with day-to-day activity. It’s currently the 7th leading cause of death worldwide, and a new study reported that the number of adults aged 40+ living with dementia is expected to triple from 57 million in 2019 to 153 million in 2050.
This is an alarming forecast … but a simple, cost-effective and easily accessible shield is within reach.
A 2015study found that people who make arts and crafts in their middle and old age may delay the development of memory and thinking problems that lead to dementia in the very old age.
Taking part in creative hobbiesnow can keep our minds sharper longer, delaying or preventing memory problems as we age.
Neuroscientists used to believe that the brain was an unchanging organ, and that after reaching full development, there is only decline. Now, scientists have concluded that actually, our brains are flexible and capable of adapting - even in old age, a concept known as neuroplasticity.
Studies have found that mentally stimulating activities like making arts and crafts, learning a new language, or engaging in conversations can significantly delay dementia. Crafting, in particular, helps us work our memory and attention span while engaging our visuospatial processing, creativity and problem-solving capabilities.
Early studies conducted in the 60s suggest that creativity is purely a right brain component, while logical thinking is a left brain trait.
This turned out to be amyth. The right and left brains do in fact operate together and share information with one another, especially during creative practices.
What isn't a myth though, is that there IS a difference between the left and right hemispheres. Activities that require spatial reasoning and appreciation of beauty stimulate the right side of the brain, while activities that require analytical thinking light up the left side.
Our focus, memory, problem solving, beauty appreciation, and information processing centres all light up when engaged with crafts like macrame.
The left brain is stimulated as you follow the instructions of the pattern and learn the types of knots for your project. The right brain is stimulated as you take care with each step to ensure a beautiful result.
According toneuroscientists, the more our left and right brain hemispheres connect, the more optimally we perform on any given task. Strengthening the bridge between the left and right hemispheres allows electrical impulse to pass freely between the two. This helps with both physical coordination and thinking based activities. Mindfulness and meditation, unexpected side effects of creating arts and crafts are shown to balance right and left brain hemispheres.
Spending time making arts and crafts like macrame promotes mindfulness and relaxation while strengthening concentration skills.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware - our minds fully attending to what is happening, what we are doing, and the space we are moving through.
If depression is living too much in the past, and anxiety is living too much in the future... mindfulness is finding ourselves in the present moment.
Despite how difficult it may sometimes feel, mindfulness is a basic human ability that everyone can practice. And there are many ways to practice … from seated or walking meditations, to intentional short pauses inserted into our busy days, to meditative activities like yoga, sports, or you guessed it.. making arts and crafts projects like macrame.
Making macrame is massively beneficial as a mindfulness practice because it forces you to focus on what you are doing. You cannot get to the next step unless you complete the current step, and so on.
Being fully engaged in the present moment is also known as tapping into the flow state. Have you ever worked on a project and completely lost sense of how much time has passed by? This is the flow state.
Being in flow reduces feelings of anxiety, boosts your mood and slows your heart rate. Repetitive creative motions like making knots in a macrame project can help you activate your flow.
It is the ultimate way to find presence, while working toward a physical reward of a beautiful item you can display in your home.
When we succeed at creating a result, we activate the reward centres of our brain - experiencing a flood of dopamine. This is a feel-good chemical that increases motivation and feelings of happiness.
With consistency, engaging in healthy dopamine stimulating activities like making macrame will influence us into wanting to do more of it so we can feel those happy hormones more frequently.
Making arts and crafts lets us experience more positive mood benefits even after we have completed a project. If we display our macrame item in our home, we are greeted with a feeling of accomplishment everytime we look at it. If we give it away as a present, we experience that positive feeling only generosity can provide.
By making the time to engage in arts and crafts, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience more of these happy hormones, arming us against symptoms of depression and anxiety. And perhaps with consistent practice, our brains will rewire to be less prone to these conditions - thanks to neuroplasticity.
A whale tail emerges from the crashing waves with cascading blue and off-white cord mimicking the ocean. Create a splash of colour for your spaces.
Macrame is an artform that requires a series of knots following a pattern to create a design from cord. Without the Make-Rame Kit, you’d need to source every material for a pattern - like the cord, metal hoop, crochet hook, and instructions. We provide it all for you in one convenient kit.
The only thing you need to have is a pair of scissors, a yard stick or measuring tape, and of course… a little bit of time, focus and patience.
The Solid Oak Whale Tail Wall Hanging Make-ramé™ Kit comes with everything you need to complete the project within 5-8 hours.
Select your birthstone and take 30 minutes to create a Crystal Angel Ornament.
These beautiful little ornaments are not just for your Christmas trees. They are beautiful as suncatchers, car charms, or sparkling home decoration items.
Making one only takes between 20-30 minutes… so this is the perfect project to start for those who want to commit less time to start.
Does your home resemble a rainforest? Or would you like it to?
The Solid Oak Make-rame Plant Hanger Kit with Beads is the perfect project for you! It's an easy to make plant hanger, designed to hug the wall while displaying your precious little plant baby.
We provide everything you need in the kit... you're a few clicks and a few hours away from a beautiful new plant hanger for your home.
As you can see, there are so many more benefits to arts and crafts than the finished product.
Engaging our minds with creative activities keeps our brains healthy, our moods up, and our minds sharper.
If you love someone who is concerned about memory problems, suggest making macrame together as a fun way to pass the time.