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How learning to sew could make you happier

Many of us would like to make the time to learn a new hobby, and newly published research makes a strong case for why you should consider learning to sew if you want to feel happier in several ways.

The study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, describes the results of a survey by academics from the Universities of Minnesota and North Carolina in the USA, and Otago in New Zealand.

They asked 658 young adults to keep a diary every day for 13 days, to record whether or not they had undertaken a creative activity that day – anything from baking, to playing a musical instrument, to ‘creating’ a new solution to a problem at work.

In the analysis they found that taking part in a creative activity on one day significantly increased the likelihood of a participant feeling more positive the day after – a pattern seen only in that sequence, rather than any sign of a positive mood on one day leading to more creativity the next.

As a result, they suggest that participating in a creative activity – which could arguably include crafts like learning to sew and knit – may well lead to a more positive mood the next day.

“People who engaged in creative pursuits today felt significantly more energetic, enthusiastic and excited the next day,” they write.

“Daily creative activity also carried over to increased low-activation positive affect states the next day, like feeling calm, content and relaxed.”

Learning to sew has practical benefits too, of course, such as the ability to make clothes that you can’t find on sale in your size or your favourite colour, and to mend a favourite garment so you can keep wearing it for longer.

Combined with the direct positive effects seen in this research, those are plenty of reasons why learning to sew should put a smile on your face.