10 benefits of crocheting you won't want to overlook

If you find that crocheting is taking up more and more of your time, you may feel you need to justify your hobby. There are a lot more than 10 reasons why crocheting is a great use of your spare time -- but here are some of the best!
1. It's a stress buster
There's nothing like concentrating on a pattern you love, plus the steady use of your hands and the pleasant feel of yarn, to take your mind off your cares. So if life is giving you lemons, pick up your hooks and crochet.
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3. It helps with depression
As well as general stress and anxiety, crochet is said to help with more serious conditions like depression too. The repetitive actions needed in crochet release serotonin, the brain's natural anti-depressant. A survey of over 3,000 knitters published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy reported that 81% of patients reported feeling happy after yarn crafting.
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2. It's good for your body
As well as being a mood lifter, crocheting has proven health benefits as the small repetitive movements involved can keep your hands, arms and fingers supple and your eyes sharp. Look into ergonomically shaped hooks if you are doing a lot of crocheting, as these are easier on the joints.
3. It keeps your mind active
The elements of math involved in crocheting (counting your stitches, being aware of the beginnings/endings of rows, totting up repetitions of patterns) all help to keep your thinking processes sharp, which many experts agree could keep conditions like Alzheimer's at bay.
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4. It's creative
There's a lot of satisfaction to be gained from making something that gives pleasure to you or others. If you've ever made a really spectacular blanket or given someone a scarf and seen a look of appreciation on their face, you'll know how special that feeling is.
5. It contributes to mindfulness and relaxation
The huge mindfulness movement that has grown around coloring and relaxation techniques also respects crocheting as a perfect vehicle for increasing your mindfulness. Repetitive crochet patterns are particularly good for inducing a mindful, open state. Think of rows of single or double crocheting for simple blankets or scarves -- perhaps with variegated yarn to inject some color interest without the interruption of changing yarns -- and you'll soon be working your way toward inner peace.
6. It increases self-esteem
The simple act of finishing off a project can have a positive effect on crocheters and can raise their sense of self-esteem. Getting something done and completed from start to finish, whether it be a large blanket or the smallest dishcloth, can bring with it a sense of effectiveness and joy that cannot be underestimated. If you are new to crocheting, make this more achievable by starting with less ambitious works, or join a CAL (crochet along project).
7. It helps others
It is always satisfying to give back to the community you live in, and you can do this with crochet. If you have a hospital nearby, make clothes for premature babies -- these aren't easily available in shops and can bring great comfort to children and parents alike. Likewise, crocheted toys donated to children's wards are gratefully received. Knitted Knockers makes prosthetic breasts for cancer sufferers, and they have a crochet pattern on their website.
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8. It creates community
It's great to get together with like-minded people, so look out for crochet get-togethers in your area. If they don't exist already, why not set one up? Your local library, a coffee shop or of course a yarn outlet would be great places to consider meeting.
 Kostikova Natalia / Shutterstock
9. It helps break bad habits
If you've found it hard to kick smoking, if you drink a little too much or if you constantly reach for the snacks, crochet could be of great help. Keeping your hands busy with something productive and positive can break bad habits and keep your mind off your less healthy concerns, replacing them with something useful.
10. It is a portable, tidy, fun hobby that can be as hard or as easy as you like
Unlike fishing or big game shooting, you can crochet anywhere -- all you need is a ball of yarn and a hook. Whether you're whiling away on a dull train commute or watching TV while you work, you can crochet at any stage of life and make things for family, friends and yourself -- things that have something special added to them, with a bit of your own inspiration and lots of love.
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