A new study has revealed painting to be the UK’s most searched for craft to help with mental wellbeing.
One in four people experience mental health problems in the UK each year and research has consistently shown that creativity and artistic crafts can help assuage mental ill-health.
Online creative resource Design Bundles analysed 30 different crafts that are recommended for mental wellbeing to discover the ten most popular crafts that can help to improve mental health.
The researchers at Design Bundles analysed each craft by the number of monthly Google searches they had to find the top ten therapeutic crafts to help with mental wellbeing. They then found the average number of monthly searches for each craft and compiled them into a list for comparison.
The data yielded by Design Bundles revealed that painting is the most Googled therapeutic craft with an average of 136,000 searches per month in the UK over the last year. Studies have shown that painting art reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels and increases the rate of ageing.
Drawing comes second on the list of most searched therapeutic crafts that help with mental wellbeing and received an average of 98,000 monthly Google searches last year. Like painting, drawing is also beneficial for people who struggle with high stress or high anxiety. Drawing allows for the creative expression of feelings that the drawer may otherwise struggle to articulate, and the process of painting can also offer a release of such feelings.
Photography is third on the list of the UK’s most Googled therapeutic crafts with an average of 66,000 searches per month. A recent study showed that participants noticed an improvement in their mental health after taking a photo every day for two months. Photography encourages people to leave the house and engage in unique and creative ways with the world. It can be especially good for those who suffer from social anxiety as it allows for people to feel a part of the world from which they often feel dissociated.
Crocheting is the fourth most searched therapeutic craft with 54,000 Google searches. Crocheting involves repetitive movements, which in turn releases serotonin. Serotonin increases calmness, mental stability, and overall happiness levels. Many people also report crocheting to improve their memory ability and concentration levels.
Calligraphy therapy is the fifth most searched for therapeutic craft receiving 46,000 Google searches. Calligraphy is the visual art of handwriting and has been proven to enhance cognitive function in older people with mild cognitive impairment. It also aids in relaxation and overall concentration.
Tie-dye is ranked sixth on the list of most searched crafts to help with mental wellbeing, with an average of 44,000 searches per month last year. Tie-dye dates back thousands of years as a method of decorating cloth, though it is commonly associated with the counter-cultural movement in the 1960s and 70s.
The seventh most searched for therapeutic craft, with 36,000 Google searches, is macrame. Macrame is an ancient form of textile patterning produced by using knotting techniques. As with some of the other crafts on our list, macrame helps to improve calmness and concentration, as well as improving cognitive functions such as memory.
Origami comes eighth on the list with 34,000 searches on average per month. The ancient Japanese paper sculpting art has long been used as a form of meditation that helps with mindfulness, focus, and relaxation.
Colouring is the ninth most searched for therapeutic craft, with 30,000 monthly searches on average. Colouring therapy has been shown to help relax the fear centre of the brain and reduce the thought patterns of a restless mind. This, in turn, can improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety.
Knitting ranks tenth on the list of therapeutic crafts, receiving 24,000 monthly searches on average last year. Knitting has been shown to reduce stress levels and relieve anxiety. In one study, people who attended a knitting social group also reported the woollen craft having a positive impact on chronic pain.
A spokesperson for Design Bundles commented on the study and said: “792 million people are affected by mental health conditions worldwide, so it is important that people know there are lots of different approaches they can take to help improve their mental wellbeing. These figures show that there is plenty of interest in crafts which also have mental health benefits, so hopefully we will continue to see activities such as painting, photography and calligraphy helping people manage their mental health.”
Top 10 crafts to help with mental wellbeing
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Source – Design Bundles
Creativity and mental health
Creativity is often associated with poor mental health and depression. Tortured artists like Vincent Van Gough, Sylvia Plath, and Kurt Cobain have long contributed to the image of art and artists walking hand in hand with mental ill-health and suicide.
But while the archetype of the depressed creative may well be real and have its own pronounced history, it has also long been proven that creativity can play an important role in remedying mental health issues and overall cognitive functions.
Engaging in creative projects has been shown to make the participant focus on one task at hand that has a particular goal – be it to finish knitting a scarf, writing a chapter, or colouring a drawing. This level of focus helps to block out external stimuli (including negative thoughts and negative feelings), as well as enhance concentration and relaxation.
The creative process also (hopefully) includes a sense of goal achievement, as the final product represents the completion of an overarching goal that has been comprised of multiple smaller goals. Goal achievement is important in building self-confidence and self-esteem, both of which are integral to a sound and healthy mental wellbeing, as well as opening up avenues of self-discovery.
So why not try taking up a new creative hobby? Even if it isn’t for the purposes of self-care and improving your mental wellbeing, you never know the wondrous effect it may have on your life.
The research in this article was conducted by Design Bundles, which offers high-quality premium design resources and a marketplace that allows graphic designers to register and sell their products.