Have you noticed how every time we decided to paint a wall, make our own drawers, or improvise our own wood tables – we get so caught on during the work, and we feel immense concentration? Here's why DIY - no matter your age - can be an amazing experience.
DIY was a process in danger of evaporation. This is because human skills are constantly being replaced by machines and robotic functions, which may make our life easier but I always argue that they also make us quite the parasites.
However, during the latest years and especially during the Covid-19 global lockdown, people were brought back up to the concept of DIY.
They understood how beneficial it is to spend time doing something useful, decorating your house, personalising your items with your own skills.
Turns out, that DIY has some deeply grounded benefits supported even by science.
Relaxation And Response
Herbert Benson , the mind and body expert of Harvard University implies that those activities requiring repetitive actions, such as knitting for instance, induce what he calls ‘the relaxation response’ – a feeling of calm that infiltrates your mind and body, a feeling that is most often associated with meditation.
Another perspective given from a 2016 study by Occupational Therapy International showed that participants of the study who took part in creative activities, including DIY projects, felt an evident boost in mood and happiness.
“The results from the literature review correlating neurological evidence and activities showed that purposeful and meaningful activities could counter the effects of stress‐related diseases and reduce the risk for dementia.
“Specifically, it was found that music, drawing, meditation, reading, arts and crafts, and home repairs, for example, can stimulate the neurological system and enhance health and well‐being.” – found the OTI study.
This proves us that getting involved in crafting or any other artsy activity, pays off in terms of our inner peace and stability.
Generally speaking, the benefits we get from DIY are countless, and they contribute to our well-being in various forms.
One thing is for sure, and that is also confirmed by world’s neurologists, psychologists and spiritual therapists: DIY has great stress relief and mood boost effects, that can make you concentrate to the task you are doing, and feel immense pride as you are doing it totally by yourself, following a pace of your own and an intuition of your own.
This way, you don’t even notice how the time passes by and you create your flow of getting things done.
Needless to say that the feeling of accomplishment and fulfilment is certainly rewarding, after you have finished whatever it is that you have decided to take on as a DIY project.
Another great benefit you get from DIY is the feeling of connection. Personally, I have noticed this as I try to decorate my place with DIY items, especially made out of wood and old things that I can recycle.
As you transform the life of an item, to another usage, you become more profoundly connected with the surroundings around your place, and you will be able to feel more like home as you look at the things you have done yourself.
Along with the feeling of deeper connection, you also develop a higher level of appreciation for your own patience, skills, brain and willingness.
While working, you understand how time-consuming doing certain things can be. For instance, you can colour your own vases and then bake them, but baking ceramic vases requires a whole lot of effort, mud and patience.
Going through this process teaches you many things and makes you more resilient as a person. You develop a deeper sense of understanding of how things are made, what they are made of, and you pay more attention to what others struggle while working with the same crafts.
Mark Fraunfelder, the editor in chief of the DIY Make magazine says that there’s one thing that unites all DIY people: they have the courage to screw up.
He adds that doing something by yourself pushes you to have more compassion for yourself along the way, forgiving your own mistakes and learning to try again. And this is also a statement backed up by professionals from neuroscience.
“While no two DIYers are alike, in general they’re an upbeat and friendly group that shares a special trait: the courage to screw up.” – Mark Fraunfelder.
Oh, and there’s another benefit which you can earn from DIY. That is saving money and becoming more economic when it comes down to buying new stuff.
Why do that when you can build your own? Imagine the pleasure of personalizing your own house, drawers, closet or even your clothes.
DIY can do wonders for your mental health, but it can certainly do the same for your wallet as well!
DIY is just one way to stay emotionally happy – here are a few more:
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