Monday, May 2, 2016

Mental Health Awareness Month - Quilting

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is a subject near and dear to my heart - I am a big fan of healthy minds and healthy bodies, and all the unique ways the mind can heal itself and be kept healthy.  From music to dance to modern art, we have it in our power to stave off the effects of dementia, short-circuit the stimulus-response of depression and overcome anxiety.

Every few months there's a new story out about the value of quilting and other practical arts for mental health and this month seems like a great excuse to share some of my favourites:

From Science Daily, an accessible review of a report released in the Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience journal that focused on the quantifiable benefits of challenging leisure activities - rather than equally enjoyable, but passive activities - to improve mental acuity. The study referenced sorted participants into three groups: to learn quilting and photography, to engage in social travel and cooking events, or placebo groups.  In both the quilting and photography groups, one learning a vary hands on activity with needle and thread and the other learning a more spatial activity with a greater emphasis on use of a tool, participants enjoyed greater memory performance and more efficient (quicker!) activity in the brain.

So get out there and grab a begginer's or more advanced quilting kit (or take your camera to your local guild meetings!) and enjoy the benefits of youthacizing your brain!

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