Have you ever noticed when you are folding laundry or doing the dishes your mind quiets and your body calms? It’s not just your imagination. Keeping your hands busy has been scientifically proven to help ease the constant workings of the mind and bring greater happiness and relaxation.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing chores, making a healthy dinner for your family, building with legos, or crocheting a shawl to send to someone with love. It’s all in the hand-brain connection. It helps your mind pause and become more centered making it possible to take the next step forward, which could be a wind-down to provide a restful night's sleep or a wind-up allowing you to jump into a work or school presentation with focus and a clear head.
One recent study showed better mental health in animals when they had to dig (aka use their hands) for their food versus animals who were given food without any digging beforehand. When they didn’t have to dig, their stress hormones soared.
The assumption is that this is the same for humans. So, no matter how busy you are with work, school, and driving your children to all the places, it’s important to carve out moments to work with your hands because it’s magic. The hand-brain connection translates from cleaning to cooking to crafting and more. Sometimes the process is labored, but hopefully, worth it because of the sustaining outcomes.
Find something you love to do that requires using your hands even if it’s only for five or 10 minutes a day to start. Even a short period of time every day will have a positive effect on your mood and your stress levels. When you combine the joy of working on a favorite project with keeping your hands busy, you’re guaranteed to find yourself calmer and in a more relaxed state without having to do anything more than the task at hand.
May your hands stay busy, your hearts full, and your brains calm.
About the Authors
Cara is a mother with an entrepreneurial spirit. She balances her career as a creative marketer with raising an active family. Hiking, skiing, and mountain biking, along with cooking for her people are her favorite heart focuses. She lives mountainside, in Vermont with her husband, two sons, and dog.
A New England girl at heart, Suzanne hails from the Green Mountains of Vermont where she rides boards and bikes, climbs rocks, and runs trails with her two boys, husband, and pup, Jango. She can usually be found reading a book or writing (and rewriting) her first novel.