The Stress Relieving Benefits of Cross Stitch

When people ask me why I cross stitch, my answer is always very simple. It makes me happy. Now for most people, the answer to this question may seem considerably dull and barely encouraging, however, I am going to let you in on a few secrets and explain what I mean by this.

Firstly and most importantly, we should consider what makes us unhappy and from the very top of that list lurks the issue of stress. Whether you are working a high pressure job or that Christmas shopping has done the Devil's dance with your bank account, we all experience stress to some extent. Would it surprise you if I said that stitching has actually been proven to reduce stress? Well if you aren't convinced then pop on down to your local police station and ask them how often they receive reports on stitch-related needle attacks!

The truth is that while you stitch, you begin to let your mind wander off to better places. Quite simply, if our mind wandered to bad places then surely we would stop stitching instantly, but what many of us do not realise is that part of the reason we stitch, is because of the de-stressing sense of peace that it gives to us. If you are a beginner to stitching then why not join in on the fun? Pull out a chair, play some Ludovico Einaudi and really let yourself float away to somewhere magical while you stitch - just be careful not to prick yourself!

Here is where it gets very interesting. Our brains are magnificent tools and while we are stitching in that happy frame of mind, our brains record warm and wonderful feelings and associate it with stitching. Before we know it, we have created our own little paradise or in more scientific terms, we have recorded a bodily automated response which is set off every time we stitch. Science shows that this bodily response reduces stress hormones and releases happy endorphins which not only benefits our mental well-being but our physical well-being also. Amazing isn't it? In that happy state of mind, we breathe slower, feel better and enjoy a meditative world of peace. In addition to this, scientists also point to more long-term benefits and with regular sessions of stitching we can re-mould ourselves to become calmer and happier people which is often described as 're-wiring the brain'.

Stitching never ceases to fascinate me with reports of anxiety, depression and even physical illness's being helped to some extent by the quiet enjoyment of stitching. The big test for me now will be persuading the husband to put aside his fruitless quest for the perfect golf swing and have a go for himself. Wish me luck!

Deborah Lester is a cross stitch designer and regular contributor to UK magazines, Cross Stitch Collection and Cross Stitcher.

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