Experts say knitting could help young adults to ward off stress and depression

  • ‘Old-fashioned activities’ help boost a sense of wellbeing in young adults
  • Experts say they may lead to an upward spiral of emotions in students
  • Rising stress levels have been linked to heart disease and forms of cancer 

Cooking a meal from scratch or knitting a jumper can ward off depression in students, new research suggests.

While painting, drawing and writing also helps to boost a sense of wellbeing to keep spirits high.

Experts say these ‘old-fashioned activities’ that are favoured by the Women’s Institute may lead to an upward spiral of emotions in young adults.

Rising stress levels have been linked to a host of serious illness including heart disease and cancer.

Scientists from the University of Otago, New Zealand, claim cooking a meal from scratch or knitting a jumper can ward off depression in students

Scientists from the University of Otago, New Zealand, claim cooking a meal from scratch or knitting a jumper can ward off depression in students

Researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand, wanted to find out if engaging in normal creative acts make people feel better.

They asked 658 students to keep a daily diary of their experiences and emotional states over 13 days.

An analysis of the information found a pattern of more enthusiasm and higher ‘flourishing’ following days when the undergraduates were more creative.

Flourishing is a psychological concept that can be described as increasing positive growth.

While painting, drawing and writing also helps to boost a sense of wellbeing to keep spirits high, new research suggests

While painting, drawing and writing also helps to boost a sense of wellbeing to keep spirits high, new research suggests

Study author Dr Tamlin Conner said: ‘There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning.

‘However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional wellbeing.

‘Eengaging in creative behaviour leads to increases in wellbeing the next day, and this increased wellbeing is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day.

‘Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.’

However, feelings of happiness, joy and excitement did not predict creative activity the next day.

The study is published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. 

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