19 Jan

Text by Rick McVicar  

Sewists and knitters stitch and pull in focused attention in a way that often relieves stress and lifts their mood.  

   For instance, on Sewcialists, a platform designed for sewists, a person who has multiple sclerosis writes that although MS has created some sewing difficulties, sewing has helped increase concentration.  Sewing has been a big factor in the person's recovery.

  “No matter how complex the pattern, essentially, I am doing only one thing,” the writer states anonymously.  

   Such focus has several benefits for the brain, according to Jessica Yen, writing for Seamwork magazine. In “The Science Behind the Relaxing Properties of Sewing,” March, 2016. Yen describes physical reactions brought by sewing.  

   For instance, the focused concentration required by sewing is akin to a deep meditative state.   

  “Lately, the definition of meditative practices has grown, as has the type of activities that scientists include in the definition of meditative practices,” Yen writes.  

  A meditative type of thinking is induced by concentration on repetitive language or tasks. A repeated phrase or prayer can bring about such a state of mind.  Repetitive hand and finger movements can have similar effects as well, Yen states.   

  The brain’s reaction to the repetition creates the “relaxation response,” a phrase first used by Herbert Benson at Harvard School of Medicine, according to Yen. The response is effective in countering the “fight-or-flight” state of mind caused by stress. 

  While stress causes an increase in heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, the relaxation response slows down those systems. The digestive system is quieted as well.  

  Further, neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, are released to calm and lift moods while bringing pleasure, Yen states.   

  The writer makes clear that the rewards of sewing are plentiful and physical. The focus found in sewing garments and décor bring benefits galore to brain, blood and heart.   

  Please feel free to comment or share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.      

A vintage sewing machine.
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