In this digital age of instant communication, the amount of information constantly streaming into your world can leave you in a state of low level anxiety and it can occasionally leave you feeling overwhelmed. Constant stress has been scientifically linked to a weakened immune system, insufficient sleep and a higher susceptibility to illness. Well-accepted natural remedies for managing stress like meditation and exercise help provide an outlet, as well as balance the body’s chemistry for optimal health. However, according to some researchers, people who suffer from chronic stress now have a fun and creative way to lower stress – through crafting.
Research is beginning to show what many crafters have known, that working on crafts not only eases stress and increases joy, but it can lower anxiety and depression and may improve brain focus. Experts like psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, founder and co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC) that studies “positive psychology,” touts the mental health benefits of painting and sewing. According to Csikszentmihalyi, people involved in creative projects can reach a zen-like state that he refers to as “flow.” In his 2004 TED talk he stated, “When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life … You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and a sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” After decades of research, Csikszentmihalyi proclaims that experiencing flow in our lives is the secret to happiness.
Another benefit of crafting may be that it builds a sense of achievement and pride, which can boost your confidence. So, if you’re looking for a enjoyable way to ease stress and add more happiness to your life, paint a landscape, knit a quilt, construct a birdhouse or carve a piece of wood — and get lost in a stress-free world of flow and creativity.
The talented crafters that participate in American Craft Endeavors outdoor festivals already know these secrets and they’re very happy to share their love of crafting with festival patrons. Right now, here in Florida, the summer sun is just too hot to have outdoor shows. So, crafters are enjoying a well-deserved break before the season kicks in again next month.
September 6 & 7, 2014, 6th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival in Venice, FL
September 20 & 21, 2014, 17th Annual Punta Gorda Sullivan Street Craft Festival in Punta Gorda, FL
September 27 & 28, 2014, 5th Annual The Villages Craft Festival at Colony Plaza in The Villages, FL