5 Ways Sewing Can Boost Your Wellbeing and Make You Feel Happier

Have you ever been so deeply immersed in an activity that you’ve completely lost track of time? I bet you came back to Earth with a thud and wondered where the afternoon had gone. That wonderful feeling of being completely engrossed in an enjoyable activity is known as ‘flow’. It’s just one of the many benefits of sewing for mental health.

Increasingly, research shows that craft activities like sewing release the feel-good hormone dopamine. These activities provide a distraction from worries, give people a creative outlet and a sense of accomplishment, and help people feel happier. But how does it work?

Sewing is a step-by-step process that requires concentration and creativity. You choose a piece of fabric from your (ever-growing!) stash, closely follow a pattern, cutting and pinning as you go. You see the needle whiz up and down and hear the machine whirring. At the end, you’ve created something beautiful you can actually wear. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment in that.

During the process of creating your masterpiece, you’ve entered a zen-like state of flow. The distractions and worries of the outside world can slip away for a while.

Happy sewing

Mental Health in Australia: The Facts

Mental illness is very common. One in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. According to the Black Dog Institute, the most common illnesses are depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorder.

These three illnesses often occur in combination. For example, a person with anxiety could also develop depression. Or a person with depression might misuse alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate.

Mental health does not discriminate. It can affect anybody at any stage of life. While we have access to medications and a range of therapies to treat mental ill-health, lifestyle choices can also improve our wellbeing. Eating well, getting enough sleep, and doing some exercise are all great for wellbeing. Spending time doing activities you enjoy is also beneficial.

Pursuing a hobby is one way to relax and unwind from your daily routine. Research shows people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from low moods, stress, and depression. In one survey conducted by the Australian Psychological Society, 4 in 5 participants found activities like listening to music and spending time on a hobby were moderately or highly effective in managing stress.


Craft as a Therapy is Not New

According to Professor Susan Luckman from the University of South Australia, craft can be an antidote to the stresses and pressures of modern living. These days, more than ever before, we’re constantly connected. With our calendars and emails now on our phone, it’s almost impossible to leave work at the office.

Dr. Luckman writes: “With what is increasingly referred to today as ‘mindfulness’ being a much-desired quality for many people, it’s not surprising crafts are being sought out for their mental and even physical benefits.”

“For over a century, arts and craft-based activity have been a core part of occupational therapy. This field emerged as a distinct health field around the end of the First World War in response to the needs of returned soldiers. This includes many suffering from what we now refer to as post-traumatic stress disorder, but then referred to as shell shock.”


Want to Know More About How Sewing Can Boost Your Wellbeing and Make You Happier?

1. It Allows Your Brain to Switch Off

When we spend so much time connected to screens and devices, it’s refreshing to disconnect for a while. Each day, our brains are processing more information than ever before. This often leads us to become tired, but also unable to switch off.

Clare Hunter, author of “Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle,” talks about the calming effects of sewing and the joy it can bring to switch off. She says:

“Sewing is increasingly becoming recognised as an effective way to combat depression. The absorption demanded by needlework – its flow – calms the mind and reduces stress. The sense of accomplishment can boost mental health and improve our immune system. The relief from the pressure of multitasking is replaced by focusing on one thing.”

“In our social media age, as we become more physically distanced from each other, sewing is a safeguard to isolation. It’s a way to stay in touch with each other: hand and mind working in harmony to convey what lies in our hearts.”


2. It Releases Dopamine, Which Makes You Feel Good

Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that makes you feel good. It’s responsible for allowing you to feel pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. Low levels can lead to a lack of motivation and a lack of excitement about things.

When you’re not feeling your best, seeking out healthy activities that naturally raise dopamine levels could benefit your mood. These include exercise, having a relaxing massage, and doing things you enjoy – like sewing!


3. It Can Help Improve Self-Esteem

Mastering a new skill is a great way to help build self-esteem. This is why I developed my online sewing course for beginners. It’s rewarding to watch new sewers learn their way around a sewing machine, develop more advanced techniques, and gain confidence in their skills. They go from nervous to self-assured and proud of their creations.


4. It Gives You Time for Yourself

It feels like everyone is so busy these days that taking time out to do something for ourselves has become a luxury we can’t afford. There’s always something on the To Do list, and that can become overwhelming at times. We all know we should practice self-care, but actually getting around to it is another story.

By taking up a hobby like sewing, you’ll have a fun, creative activity you can enjoy any time.


5. It Helps You Create Social Networks

Although sewing might seem like a solitary activity, it can easily allow you to create social networks and build relationships with other sewers. Whether you decide to go along to a local sewing group in your area or join an online community, building social connections can help foster feelings of wellbeing and reduce isolation.

For people who are shy, introverted, or experiencing challenges with their mental health, it can sometimes be difficult to feel motivated to go out. But when you’re meeting with people who share a common hobby, you will always have something to talk about.


What is Your Favorite Thing About Sewing?

Sewing is the bee’s knees! As you’ve read, there’s plenty of research showing that sewing and other crafts:

  • Allow your brain to switch off and enter that awesome state of ‘flow’
  • Can release feel-good dopamine, which increases happiness and motivation
  • Can help improve your self-esteem, especially when learning a new skill
  • Give you a wonderful hobby that allows you to have time to yourself
  • Help create social networks, which can reduce feelings of isolation

In addition to the health benefits, sewing can also save you money, allow you to make garments you can’t find in a store, and make gifts for family and friends. Some people even fall so much in love with sewing, they turn their hobby into a career.

So Now It’s Over to You

Would you like to learn     Sewing lessons for Beginners