Knit away tension

Besides the benefit of making a scarf, or jumper for the winter ahead, knitting has some fantastic mental health benefits. It has a measurable effect on calming anxiety and relieving stress.

The repetitive and rhythmic motions that make up knitting could be the key to relaxation. Several studies have linked knitting to health benefits. These can include lowered blood pressure, reduced depression and anxiety, and delay to the onset of dementia.

Knitting can be as relaxing as yoga, but you don’t have to get sweaty and you can do it in your pyjamas. It can reduce heart rates by 11 beats per minute, and elicit an enhanced state of calm.

Starting a new hobby can be exciting and once you get going it should increase your feelings of usefulness. Knitting can be a form of self-expression as you create something tangible out of a simple ball of yarn. It can boost confidence, self-esteem, motivation and mood.

The first step is to get some advice from the shop where you purchase your wool and knitting needles. To get started you will need a pattern sheet or book, scissors, some knitting needles and wool.

It would be best to buy a less expensive woollen yarn for your first project, but it should feel good in your hands and be a colour you enjoy. Select a simple pattern and average size needles to begin with. Choose something without too many stitches, like a scarf or a square you can later incorporate into a blanket.

You could ask someone you know to show you how to get started, join a class, or go online to find some tutorials.

Happy knitting!

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