“People basically have a vacation from their problems,” she tells KNAU. “They can forget about what’s bothering them, and they get into something in the moment that energizes them, that leads to the repair in mood.”
Futterman-Collier studied 60 women suffering from various levels of stress. She had them either work with textiles, write or meditate. During their respective activities, the women kept track of their moods. And for good measure, Futterman-Collier also took saliva samples, monitored their heart rates to determine their stress levels and measured their inflammation. She then compared the stress-reducing results of each of the three activities.
“Textile handcraft making was associated with the greatest mood repair, increases in positive, decreases in negative mood,” she tells KNAU. “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.”
Futterman-Collier’s conclusion jibes with other research on the benefits of handcrafting hobbies.