The start of each new year stirs conversations around how we will become “better” in some way during the coming year. Perhaps you’ll stop smoking, join a gym, clean out the basement, or vow to remember birthdays with a handwritten note. These are all worthy pursuits, but what if we all just resolved ourselves to become a little happier this year?
I’ve talked about how needle felting can help you reduce stress and build confidence, but did you know that picking up a new hobby (or rededicating yourself to a current craft) can make you happier? And we all know, when we are happy, those around us are happier, too!
We release dopamine when we do something pleasurable, and it’s that pleasure sensation that has us coming back for more. This reward center has evolved to release this neurotransmitter when we are crafting, which in turn makes us happier!
Here are five ways needle felting can make you happier in the new year.
#1 A Sense of Accomplishment
Whether you are picking up the needle and wool for the first time, vowing to complete an unfinished project, or resolving to improve your abilities this year, needle felting can provide a tangible sense of accomplishment.
We gain confidence and a feeling of pride when we can create something from scratch – I know I do! Knowing that I created a penguin from nothing more than spun wool gives me a sense of fulfillment and joy. We engage our innate call to create beauty in this world as well as be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor when done.
#2 Grow Your Friends and Community
In any new hobby or pursuit you pick up, there will inevitably be new teachers, students, and friends who share your interest. We are wired to seek out community, even if those new connections live on the other side of the world.
When you pick up needle felting, you will join a community of fellow creatives who are passionate about fiber arts and who share your interest in expanding skills while creating beautiful creations. You’ll likely click with someone and strike up an unexpected friendship that began with a shared interest in needle felting! I’ve shared my journey of how the Wooly Women-led me on this path and connected me to each of you. It’s truly magical!
#3 Use Your Brain
Any hobby or craft requires varying degrees of challenge. In needle felting, we learn to manipulate the materials to form our creations, bringing our vision to manifest. Each project we tackle will require us to learn a new skill or work with wool differently.
By doing this, we are continuing to challenge ourselves and our brains. Neurons fire and make new connections, we use both our right and left brains, and we learn to focus on reaching the goal of completion. Learning new things can help with our neuroplasticity, the part of the brain that gets stronger when we use it. What a great reason to learn needle felting!
#4 Grow Your Patience
When we pick up a project, we automatically understand that it will take time to finish. As we choose an art project, we further grasp that we can’t rush the process – there are no shortcuts! In this way, we build patience for the process and even enjoy the time spent in our endeavor.
As we build our patience in doing something we enjoy, this can translate to improved patience and focus in other areas. From sitting in traffic to running errands to standing in line, we start to allow for things to be as they will.
#5 Reduce Stress
Crafting is now scientifically recognized as having properties similar to meditating with all the associated benefits. We reach a meditative state as we lose ourselves in our project, and time falls away, a state some call, “flow.” This meditative state can slow our heart rate, improve focus, and reduce stress.
For me, needle felting has become a “must” for maintaining my mental health. I have made it a daily habit and find that it centers and grounds me amidst the hustle and bustle of the day. After even 20 minutes of working with my wool and needles, I am decidedly happier!
Resolve to step up your needle felting skills this year and join the Bear Creek Needle Felting Academy. There you will not only receive personalized instruction, but you will also connect with fellow needle felters who are improving their skills and art. It’s a generous space, and you’ll no doubt grow in ways you never imagined!