Sewing Reduces Stress? How?
I’m already stressed – how can sewing help me reduce my stress? So, what are the benefits of sewing in reducing a person’s stress level?
Many people are very stressed in today’s world. Here are some results found from a study that was done over 20 years ago by the American Home Sewing and Craft Association, which is now the Sewing and Craft Alliance. In the study it was found that there are actually stress-relieving benefits from sewing. I believe the results of the study still hold true today.
Two Main Factors When Measuring Stress Levels
When measuring stress levels, there are two main factors that are taken into consideration: heart rate and blood pressure. As it turned out, the study showed that both of these factors were considerably lower in those who sew – both those who are beginners and those who are more experienced.
I’ve found that spending a few hours working on a sewing project, and following through on the creative process, helps me relax as much as when I work in my yard, or practice one of my musical instruments!
Stress Can Kill!
Understandably, however, one person’s stress may be different from another person’s stress. It does depend on how much you enjoy what you’re doing.
Don’t get me wrong, having to rip out and re-do a seam, deal with stubborn weeds that don’t respond to pulling or to chemicals, or not being able to get my fingers to perform the proper sequence of a section of music, does give me a certain amount of stress!
However, I guess those kinds of stressors are what the experts say happens to us as a matter of course in our daily lives. And, some stress is a good thing, right? Well, okay, Sandy – if you say so!
The study results stated that “When we run in ‘high gear’ at an unrelenting pace, our body responds in a physiological manner to constant stress: elevated blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, perspiration, lower body temperature, shortness of breath, muscle tension.”
(Okay, this sounds like what happened to me two different times when I was weed eating on the steep slope in back of our house several years ago, when I thought I was having a heat stroke!)
I probably don’t need to list all the symptoms of stress here but suffice it to say that stress can kill!
The Study Concludes…
And what does the study conclude? Sewing is relaxing! Both beginners and experienced sewists had a lower heart rate and blood pressure. So, there it is – sewing can gives us a way to reduce our stress level. Who knew?
Here are some ways I have found to accomplish a lower stress level with my sewing:
Hunting for, and getting the exact fabric, color and style I want for my project (It gives me a good excuse to go shopping!);
Exercises my creativity;
Saves money and I can get a custom fit by making a garment myself;
Taking time away from the pressures of life to immerse myself in my very own corner of the world;
Making a hand-made gift for someone;
- Realizing how much satisfaction I’ll get by doing something nice for myself or others.
There are many rewards!
Just A Few Tips
An important aspect of keeping stress levels lower when sewing is to make your sewing area comfortable and inviting. Also, here are a few more stress-lowering tips that can help:
Create a workable sewing space – one that is efficient and isn’t stress-inducing – even if it’s just a corner in the bedroom or dining room.
Use organizers and containers for sewing supplies that can be put away easily when sewing is finished for the day.
If you are just beginning your sewing journey, look for patterns, projects or instructions with the words “easy,” “beginning” or “beginner level.” Anything with one of those descriptors will help you get started on the right path without creating undue stress at the beginning.
Don’t jump in to something that’s beyond your sewing skill set until you can handle more advanced techniques. Everyone has to start at the very beginning. Remember, none of us were born knowing how to walk. We had to learn to crawl and practice crawling before we could advance to the next level – walking!
Working on a project that is beyond your understanding and level of sewing skill can be frustrating and overwhelming, creating a stress level that’ll cause you to quit. Many beginners have gotten into a situation they didn’t know how to correct and into the trash goes the project. Don’t let that be you!
Sewing is Fulfilling and Fun!
Sewing is a fulfilling and fun activity to pursue, so don’t create an environment that causes more stress than you already have in your life. Creating an environment that gives you joy and satisfaction, that brings a smile to yourself or someone else, should be your goal.
If your sewing project gets frustrating and stressful, shut it down, walk away from it, and come back to it the next day. When you do come back to it, you’ll have a whole new perspective on the situation and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle it again.
Whether or not you believe it, the study shows that sewing can reduce our stress level!