My father worked with his hands. He was a carpenter, furniture maker, drapery sewer, decorator, and mural painter–and these were just his side jobs. His main job was operating an enormous bucket loader at a sand mine. I didn’t think about it much as a child, but I imagine that moving around piles of sand all day was relatively mind-numbing for someone who thrived on making things beautiful. “I can’t stand keeping my hands still,” was a phrase he often said when asked how he maintained the energy for his creative work after a 12-hour shift.
I’ve inherited my father’s busy hands. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, doing home repairs, crocheting, needle felting, painting, working with resin, or tapping away at my keyboard, my hands must be moving/creating from the moment I wake up until bedtime. It’s more that just the business of being busy. I experience a very real brain/heart/hand connection when I’m creating in any form. I can only describe it as peaceful, calming sense of accomplishment. It feels like I’m totally in control of the flow of my life and happiness. While that may sound overly dramatic, it turns out that there is a neuro-chemical payout associate with doing handiwork.
According to this CBS This Morning clip, working with your hands can positively alter your brain chemistry and bolster your mental health. That sounds like a pretty good pay-off for doing the things that I love!
What do you think? Does crafting/creating make you feel calmer? What kinds of handiwork do you most enjoy? Tell me about it in the comments. 🙂