I recently came across an article on ceramics and how it can help those battling depression. In it, they discussed the work of art psychotherapist Joshua K. M. Nan. Nan studied the effect that ceramic art therapy can have in those struggling with depressive disorders, and his findings were impressive!
Those who were taking ceramic art therapies “had lower levels of depression and improved ‘daily functioning, general mental health, and holistic BMS well-being.’” Why? Nan believes that working with a malleable substance requiring physical exertion gives it a boost over other forms of art therapy. Malleable substance and physical exertion – does that sound like anything else you know?
Without having conducted my own research study, I feel quite confident in saying that needle felting can help relieve depression. Even on days when depression makes it hard to do much, needle felting gives you something to do, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with creating something from nothing. And, wool is malleable, and stabbing it a lot takes physical exertion.
Similar to ceramics, needle felting engages you both physically and mentally. It’s an achievable craft for anyone, and participants can create progressively more complex works.
In addition, you can use needle felting to express your innermost emotions that you just can’t put into words. For some people, it can be helpful to personify their depression, and view it as something separate from themselves. What better way to do this than to felt a physical representation of what depression feels like for you?
Or, maybe distraction is more your preference. You can choose a project based around a family member’s favorite animal. (Come on, who doesn’t have an aunt that collects frogs or turtles or chickens or some other animal-based tchotchkes?) When you’re crafting your frog, you can focus on warm memories you share with this aunt, and imagine the joy she’ll feel when she receives such a thoughtful gift. Needle felting can do all that.
Best of all, if you lose motivation, needle felting will always be there waiting, exactly as you left it, when you come back. There are no stitches to count, no colors to re-mix, just a ball of wool waiting for you to take another stab at it. (Couldn’t resist the pun)
If you’d like to give needle felting a try to improve your mood, join my academy! You’ll get video courses, learn techniques, and receive support to get you started, or improve your felting skillset. There’s no pressure, only support and a love of wool crafting here! Whether your first project is a blob of sadness or a cheery chicken, we’re here for you! Won’t you join us?