If hobbies have an image, embroidery has for many years been in the realm of tea cozies and crochet rugs. But young, stressed professionals are now taking up needlepoint as a way to relax and enjoy the benefits of their work, and medical experts are supportive of embroidery as an effective way to improve creativity and mindfulness. Mindfulness is described as a mental state achieved by focusing on one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, thereby used as a therapeutic technique. Many psychologists say that embroidery is a method of relaxation. Forming and following patterns requires a certain logic to the practice. You could sit on the train going to work and look out the window or you could do cross-stitch, engaging the brain in being able to develop and follow patterns. This form of logic is a self-induced state of focusing. Focusing on a task for a long period of time has been shown to improve concentration levels and hand-to-eye coordination. It also stimulates the brain’s right hemisphere, which is associated with creativity. When people are busy working with lots of responsibility and constantly developing creative solutions, embroidery trains that creative area of the brain, similar to any other form of artistic expression. This also fits into the concept of mindfulness, because doing embroidery makes you very present. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, and as people achieve small successes – getting a difficult stitch right and creating something beautiful – their perceived level of confidence rises. Furthermore, at the end of the day, you are rewarded with a product for your effort and your own creation. Perhaps this is why embroidery is used as a form of stress relief. The motion of concentrating on a project, choosing colors, creating stitches and the repetitive motion of the stitching, enhances your focus on the present and helps you to zone out intrusive thoughts.
Love and Light!