How are Crafting and Neuroplasticity related?
Turns out, they’re closer than you think! Learning a new skill increases the amount of myelin being produced in our brain, which is the key to forming new brain connections. Crafting is all about learning new skills and by picking up a crochet hook or learning a new stitch you’re increasing the myelin in your brain, making it easier for you to learn new things in the future.
Because crafting is basically constant skill-building, this is a great way to build the neuron connections that will serve you in other aspects of your life. Keep reading to learn how skill-building can change your life.
What is Myelin you ask?
It’s white brain matter that fills over 50% of our brain. At a micro-level, it’s a fatty tissue that covers some of the neuro fibers in your brain.
Myelination is the increase of this white fatty matter which happens rapidly as we’re children and slows down as we age. But scientists believe that this white matter is key to faster learning, increased neuro strength, and speed.
“We’re changing how our brain is wired on a deep level.”
So how do you promote myelination? By learning and practicing new skills. In summary, learning new skills increases your ability to learn other skills faster, that’s a whole lot of learning!
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.
Consistent and long-term practice is essential for reaping the benefits of myelination and as your old high school coach probably said: “Perfect practice makes perfect.” This means that carving out time in your day for even a short amount of time to pick up your craft will serve you in the long run. “To improve your performance, you need to practice frequently, and get lots of feedback so you practice correctly.”
How can you practice correctly? Learn from Others.
It can be hard to learn new skills correctly by yourself which is why when you’re picking up a new craft we suggest learning from a friend or trying out one of our craft workshops. Having an expert correct your skills as you learn is the key to practicing correctly so you can reap the benefits from the practice.
Our workshops are specifically designed to encourage consistent creative practice and offer encouraging feedback so you can reach your full skill-building potential!
You can teach an old dog new tricks.
Contrary to popular belief, our brain remains flexible throughout our lives, so learning new skills remains crucial as we grow older. If myelination is the key to a host of brain benefits, demyelination is a factor in aging and can cause negative effects associated with neurodegenerative diseases. “This suggests that myelin is an important factor in allowing us to make the most of our brain and bodily functions.” This means that skill-building, and in our case crafting, is a lifelong practice that grows even more important as we age.
By prioritizing creativity as you grow older you can keep your mind sharp and encourage fast learning in other areas of your life.
The Crafty Takeaway
Learning a craft properly the first time and practicing those skills consistently, will help your memory, brain, and overall body functions by producing more myelin! “Practicing skills over time causes those neural pathways to work better.” By staying creative and practicing new skills, you can help you pick up other new skills in areas like work.
Cooper, Belle Beth. “Why Getting New Things Makes Us Feel so Good: Novelty and the Brain.” Buffer Resources. Buffer Resources, June 24, 2020. https://buffer.com/resources/novelty-and-the-brain-how-to-learn-more-and-improve-your-memory/.
Shen, Jason. “The Science of Practice: What Happens When You Learn a New Skill.” Lifehacker. Lifehacker, May 29, 2013. https://lifehacker.com/the-science-of-practice-what-happens-when-you-learn-a-510255025.
Vaughan, Christopher. “Neural Activity Promotes Brain Plasticity through Myelin Growth, Researchers Find.” Stanford Medicine News Center. Stanford Medicine, April 10, 2014. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/04/neural-activity-promotes-brain-plasticity-through-myelin-growth-study-finds.html.