Good morning, everyone! I have a bit of a different post for you today that I f eel like I’ve needed to write for quite some time.
I have been dealing with severe anxiety since I was eleven and I was eventually diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD.
The symptoms of GAD include constant worry, restlessness, sleeping difficulties, jumping to worst case scenarios, irritability, and lack of concentration.
I have struggled for years to find a successful outlet for my anxiety. That is, until I took up crochet.
Crocheting provides that creative outlet to channel a lot of my fear and worry, and I’ve found that this significantly alleviates even the most debilitating effects of my anxiety.
Crocheting + Anxiety
So without further ado, here are five ways crocheting has helped my anxiety.
A huge part of my anxiety is the tendency to be restless and fidget when I’m anxious, mostly with my skin and hair.
I’ve tried for years to break this habit to no avail, up until recently.
Crochet obviously requires the constant use of your hands, giving me an alternative to the more harmful effects of the restlessness that comes with anxiety.
I’m creating something new while also alleviating my anxiety, and I’ve found myself reaching for my yarn and hook instead of my skin and hair.
Another prominent symptom of my anxiety is to overthink to the point of
imagining the absolute worst-case scenarios.
Someone doesn’t respond to my text? Something horrible has happened to them.
Do I feel chest pain or stomach pain? I need to go to the hospital.
It goes without saying that 99% of the time, I end up doing this for absolutely no reason. I’m getting myself worked up for nothing and often feel exhausted afterward because my brain is on overdrive.
But if I grab my yarn instead of sitting there imagining the worst thing that could happen, it gives me something to focus on instead of ruminating on those thoughts.
This always brings me down from that panic and then all of a sudden, the pain stops or I get a response to the aforementioned text.
Focusing on crocheting calms down my brain and helps me get to the point where I recognize that I’m catastrophizing.
When my anxiety gets the best of me, my motivation essentially goes to zero.
I can’t do anything else but worry, and every other plan I had for the day goes out the window.
But when I get close to finishing a crochet project, I start to get
excited about adding a new piece to my wardrobe that I made myself.
When I finish the project, my motivation is kickstarted again and it snowballs into being able to tackle my other plans for the day.
This is especially helpful when I’ve had a particularly rough anxiety attack or have been anxious for the few days previous.
4. Difficulty Sleeping
I have been dealing with insomnia for most of my life, mostly because of my constant anxiety.
I have tried multiple methods, usually without luck because my brain won’t stay quiet.
At some point, I become anxious about not being able to sleep and prolong my insomnia even more!
But crocheting is a calming and relaxing activity that doesn’t involve electronics, making it a great thing to do before it’s time to go to sleep.
It helps me stay off social media and become relaxed to the point of being able to go to sleep.
One of the most debilitating symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder is
irritability with everything and everyone.
Constant irritability leads to lashing out for no reason, isolating myself for fear of lashing out, and a bad mood.
This affects a lot of my relationships and is probably the worst symptom of my anxiety in particular.
But nine times out of ten, my irritability is a result of my inability to focus and my restless thoughts.
So because crocheting creates an outlet to channel those two things, it, in turn, alleviates my irritability by a lot.
It also helps me pinpoint the reason for the irritability and then subsequently find a way to fix that.
Pick Up a Hook!
If you’re struggling with anxiety, pick up a hook!
Whether you’re just learning or haven’t crocheted in a while, I highly recommend crochet as a great outlet for alleviating anxiety. It has helped me tremendously and I hope it helps you too.
Hannah is the eldest of the Bonner family’s three kiddos. She is a senior at the University of North Texas and will graduate with her Bachelors in Elementary Education in the fall. She enjoys reading, yoga, movies & TV, and (obviously) crocheting. She is excited about furthering her writing career & spending her days surrounded by yarn. All the yarn.