What are the benefits of cross stitch?
Here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered and some reasons I love to cross stitch:
Cross stitching creates a sense of calm and relaxation. Stitching is a bit like mediation, the process of creating stitches with thread pulled through fabric in an almost hypnotic repetitive motion causes relaxation and could be considered similar to chanting or prayer.
Cross stitch enhances creativity, and the act of creating is very rewarding. Choosing different designs (based on your favorite topics like Christmas or Halloween cross stitch) and colors, fabrics and textures, simply bringing something to life from nothing can help to clear your mind of normal daily dust and negative thoughts.
Cross stitching can boost self confidence. The act of creating something boosts confidence. Try teaching a kid (or anyone, for that matter) to cross stitch and watch them light up! It’s rewarding!
Cross stitching reduces stress. Studies have shown that people who cross stitch have lower blood pressure and a decreased heart rate while stitching. It forces a body to slow down, breath and think in a non-stressful manner. The Royal United Hospital in Bath, England conducted research that suggest that cross stitch decreases stress hormones and increases serotonin (which acts as a mood stabilizer) and dopamine (known as the “feel good” hormone.
Cross stitching requires and encouraged mindfulness. The act of stitching forces a body to focus all of it’s mental and physical energy on the task at hand, living completely within the moment and appreciate what is right in front of you.
Cross stitch can increase mental capabilities and concentration. Much like puzzles and games such as crosswords or sudoku can aid in cognitive improvement and decrease the possibility of dementia, cross stitch is similar in that your mind uses a graph or pattern to chose where stitches go, so your brain is forced to mentally “work” to achieve a goal.
Cross stitch is inexpensive and versatile. True, you can spend lots of money on cross stitch if you want to… but you don’t have to! Unlike other hobbies like mountain climbing, sky diving or scuba diving, cross stitch materials like DMC threads / floss, needles, Aida cross stitch fabric and hoops and patterns are rather inexpensive and easy to find. You can also choose from a large variety of cross stitch genres or topics life Wicca cross stitch, Quaker cross stitch, Halloween cross stitch or Nautical cross stitch based on your mood or purpose.
Obviously, cross stitching improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills. It goes without saying the it is great exercise for coordination and I swear the arthritis that I occasionally experience in my knuckles feels better after stitching and my range of motion is improved.
Cross stitch often gives me a sense of control in a crazy world. We all know control is an illusion, but it is nice to have one thing that I can have absolute power over. I can choose what style or genre I want at that moment. I can choose the colors, the stitches, the materials, etc. It may be a small victory, but I enjoy it.
Cross stitching can create a sense of community. I have made many friends who are likewise interested in cross stitch. While it is mainly a solitary activity, there are many stitching groups that you can join, especially online, that can give you a sense of belonging, meet new folks and these cross stitch groups can be a valuable tool and reference if you have questions.
Most of all – cross stitch is easy and fun! People of all ages, genders, geography, economic statuses, race, politics or religious views enjoy cross stitch. It’s for everyone! I love to plop down in front of a movie and stitch, or sit outside under a tree and stitch. It can go anywhere and everywhere with you. PDF downloads make cross stitch even easier! I love to make gifts for friends and family, or stitch snarky little sayings for my house. Cross stitching gives me a feeling of contentment and happiness.
I’d love to hear why YOU love to cross stitch!
“Threads” photo by Karly Santiago, and “Mindfulness photo by Lesly Juarez. Thanks!