The importance of making and using our hands

January 29, 2019

The importance making - #MakingStillMatters

 

 

 

The importance of ‘Making’ - #MakingStillMatters

 

I want to use this blog as a way to encourage people of all ages to make. Whatever it might be; there are just so many benefits to using your hands (or other body parts) in a creative way.

 

It’s more than just being an artist or a designer - (although I am so here for that), whether it’s a hobby or a career the most important part is gaining and practicing skills that branch out into all areas of life.

 

Using your hands; be it in gardening, baking, decorating, drawing, knitting or making music they all give us an opportunity to have fun and to grow. It’s part of what makes us human.

 

The benefits are not just in the end product being the thing you make but also in the process.

 

So what are some of the benefits? I only have time to touch on a few but I will definitely get some more down at a later date.

 

Firstly - It’s good for your brain

 

Beginning from when we are very young our hands are our first tools for finding out about the world. (Once we move on from putting things straight in our mouths…).

 

New connections are made in our brain through what our hands are doing. Neurologist Roger Lemon said that ‘there are 10 times more channels of information going from our hands to our brains than in the other direction.’ We can feed our brains 10 times more information when we physically handle something rather than just looking at it.

 

Clayground Collective’s Julia Rowntree was concerned about children losing skills of making due to increase exposure to digital devices and screens. Through their research they found that the decline in hand skills - e.g. drawing, carpentry, clay skills etc. - correlated with a drop in children’s ability to notice intricate detail in maps and intricate illustrations - this has a knock on effect on reading a literacy skills.

 

Also amongst medical and specifically surgical students, because academic subjects have been emphasised throughout and practical subjects get a back seat they have a chunk of skills missing. This means they struggle to perceive intricate detail, they can’t notice pattern and they can’t translate from 2D screens to 3D bodies easily which then goes on to effect us!

 

So you parents who want your child to be a doctor or surgeon let them make things.

 

Ref- https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05bfnt0, Crafts Magazine July/August 2018

 

Secondly - Improves your mental health

 

Art therapy is proven to help people deal with trauma and stress, studies show that being creative in general has an extremely positive effect on our moods.

 

Immersing yourself in the act of making can be so so fulfilling. There is a satisfying sense of achievement that you feel knowing that you’ve made something that didn’t previously exist in the world. It’s yours, you did that and no one else can do it again quite like you.

 

What is more exciting though is the process you go through once you’re doing it, when you actually get stuck in.

 

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book talks about this state of ‘Flow’. It’s where people find genuine satisfaction when they are completely absorbed in an activity, especially one that involves creativity and aligns with their skill set.

 

You know the feeling when you get into something and you look up and hours have gone past and you haven’t thought about eating or checked your phone or anything. Yeah that. Theirs is no better feeling to be honest than being engaged mentally and physically.

 

You don’t even have to be a skilled maker you can pick anything you like or that excites or challenges you and just get stuck in. Sometimes the most engaging time is when you are learning something completely new and just being free to experiment.

 

A friend of mine recently went back to dancing having been struggling with her mental health. She had been neglecting the creative side of herself but once she went back it made a real difference. She said, “Creative people need to be creative” and I think that hits the nail on the head, but guess what

WE ARE ALL CREATIVE

 

Ref –

Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 

https://www.monster.ca/career-advice/article/healthy-benefits-of-working-with-your-hands

@frkle on instagram

 

 

This brings me on to my last point .. It get’s you moving

 

As I have been saying it’s the process not the product. When you think of making as a process rather than an outcome, it opens your eyes to different ways of doing it. Like building sand castles, you know the sea will eventually wash them away but that doesn’t take away from the fun you had making them.

 

Being active like exercising, or dancing and using other body parts are just as valid as painting or drawing. Anyway that you can be creative that works for you is valid. As well as your mental health, making is just as good for our physical health. Your physical health is always improved if you have a naturally healthy lifestyle.

 

BONUS – It can keep you healthy too

 

 

So guys, for those of you loves who are still reading …

I hope I have inspired you to get making. Let’s move on from the adult colouring books! Sign up to a pottery class or a modern calligraphy class, buy some poster paint, make a collage from old magazine or old birthday cards , anything!

 

Just make something

 

 

Rae

 

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