As optimistic and hopeful as we all may endeavour to be, there’s no denying that we have all been through quite a trying time in recent years, and it’s taken a toll on our mental health. According to Psychology Today, depression and anxiety are on the rise globally, leading to a mental health crisis. Rates of anxiety have skyrocketed since the global pandemic, and with money worries, environmental concerns and promises of a looming recession, it’s fair to say we have a lot on our minds.
Thankfully, many of us have found an age-old form of mindfulness that doesn’t require traditional meditation. Arts and crafts have been the answer for many, providing a therapeutic way of working through our struggles and feelings while at the same time shutting down imposing and persistent thoughts that threaten to drive us to distraction.
Interest in Crafting on the Increase, According to Data
Design Bundles, a leading digital design marketplace for graphic designers, has delved into the data and found that over recent years there has been an incredible increase in interest regarding Cricut machines – a digital die-cutting machine crafters use to design projects on wood, paper, vinyl, fabric, cork and leather.
It seems that searches for Cricut machines have boomed since 2019, and in fact, Cricut has been growing at a triple-digit rate, up a staggering 148%. This is interesting enough in isolation, but when you compare this statistic to the increase in the number of Etsy sellers, you get a fuller picture. During the same time period, there was a notable increase in the number of Etsy sellers – in 2021, the number rose to 7.5 million from 4.4 million active sellers the year before. More than ever, people are making use of modern technology such as Cricut machines to create unique, bespoke items for purchase – and this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing. So why is this the case? And is there more to the matter than simply money-making motives?
As Human Beings, We Turn to Art During Tough Times
Logically you might think that art would take a backseat during difficult times – after all, we’ve got much more important things to think about, right? In reality, this is far from the case. In fact, historically, these are the times when we turn to art to make sense of the world around us and to help us connect with others.
During the First and Second World Wars, soldiers wrote powerful poetry from the trenches. During the Great Depression, people painted public murals, displayed in public buildings and schools. And more recently, the global pandemic prompted a lot of people to express themselves artistically, meaning that years from now we will be able to look back at this time and get a real, true picture of how people were affected, how they struggled and how they survived in an unprecedented time of loneliness and stress.
Crafting as a Form of Meditation
We may never truly understand our connection with art – after all, it’s entirely unique to the human race. In no other animal species do we see such creativity and appreciation for art. It is able to express feelings and connect us with each other. But what’s even more interesting is how art can help us quiet our own thoughts, detach and unwind.
Due to our fascination with art, there have been a number of studies looking into its effect on our minds and bodies. Forms of art such as knitting can help to lower blood pressure, distract from chronic pain, combat anxiety and even slow the onset of dementia. Other sources suggest that creative projects can act as a form of meditation, helping us to focus our minds and eliminating intrusive thoughts, providing a calming effect.
Amy Launder, BACP Accredited Psychotherapist, Psychological Coach and Visiting Diploma Tutor at, The Awareness Centre, says:
“Using arts and crafts can help to calm the mind and focus our attention during times of stress. It is an easier way to get into mindfulness and even into a meditative state simply because we need to focus on the task at hand, rather than checking emails, checking our phone, and so on. The more intricate and complex the arts & crafts project, the more attention and focus it requires, and therefore the less our thoughts can wander to the crisis at hand. It can help if the project requires us to get a little messy as that also precludes us from being able to pick up our phones or log onto our emails while we are focused on the art project.”
So while we may be heading for a difficult time in the coming year, and while we are still recovering from a pretty monumental time in our living history, we can collectively turn to the arts to help set our minds straight to see us through.
With advances in technology, more and more people are taking to crafting to express themselves and to connect with others, making money while taking some much-needed solo time to process emotions and thoughts. As the world gets busier, it’s more important than ever to take five minutes to ourselves, to turn off our phones and our minds, to create and be human.
About the Author: Samantha Lyon is a Senior Account Manager for Digital PR and Content Marketing at The Brains. With a decade’s experience in Digital Marketing, Samantha enjoys working with clients to create high-value content both on-page and off-page to increase rankings, recognition and revenue.