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Newcastle University Therapist highlights importance of arts and crafts on our wellbeing

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Cosy Owl

A recent survey of 500 UK Brits has found that 75% of British men in the North East would choose to spend their time doing arts and crafts if they had more time at home. The research looked at the time young people spend on technology compared to activities such as arts and crafts or household chores.

Recent research undertaken by The Lancet suggests there’s a link between technology use and the issues of child development, obesity and mental health, with the study concluding that the amount of time a child or young person spends on devices should be managed based on the individual. This is backed by findings first discovered by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who found no consistent evidence for any specific health or wellbeing benefits associated with screen time.

To understand how people felt about how this technology is impacting their lives, candle making supply specialists Cosy Owl surveyed 500 Brits and found that 75% of males would choose hobbies such as Arts and Crafts over time spent online and on a phone or tablet.

Therapist Pauline Beaumont of Newcastle University believes its the demands of the digital world and our constant multi-tasking habits that cause avoidable distractions.

“We have become so used to multi-tasking that it can be difficult at first to narrow our attention down to one thing. Focusing on the activity of making something by hand gives us the perfect opportunity to train our attention and thereby to practise mindfulness techniques.”

Pauline believes arts and crafts activities promote relaxation and reduce stress levels within the body.

“It is the physicality of the process of making something by hand which sets it apart from much of the virtual or digital world we spend so much time in now. Working with physical materials forces us to respect their intrinsic characteristics, such as wax’s response to heat, this can teach us acceptance. Crafting often involves waiting and this can be a meditation, a way of teaching ourselves that it is possible to slow down.”

The art of crafting something not only teaches us to be patient, but it also highlights the imperfections in creating something.

“Being creative also inevitably involves mistakes and things not turning out quite as planned. This experience of things going wrong gives us a chance to accept the existential reality of imperfection. Recognising that nothing is perfect can help us to learn to be more compassionate towards ourselves. In making an imperfect loaf or candle we can remind ourselves that our lives are not perfect either and that this is alright.”