The Quilting Brain ...with Modern Muse

The Quilting Brain ...with Modern Muse

Jan 29th 2018

Happy 2018 Everyone! I hope everyone's holiday season was blessed and full of laughter. Did anyone try making primitive trees or the no-sew ornaments? My daughter and I had so much fun designing together. Please email pictures along of what you have been working on. We would love to showcase them here and on our website.

I've tried sitting down to write to ya'all several times, but something has always gotten in the way. My husband's father has had some serious health issues since Christmas that started with the flu and have continued to develop into more serious ailments. As the stress in our house has increased, it has gotten me thinking a bit about longevity and stress management. This is something I am always working on, as I split my time in so many ways here at home. Sometimes the anxiety of the situation makes my body tense and screams at me to pay attention! I find that I just want to escape to my sewing space and zone out for a bit to reset myself.

Well, ladies and gents - it turns out that escaping to your sewing space does wonders for the brain and science has finally started giving credit to our needs to shop for textiles, touch fabric, re-work a pattern and spend hours putting it all together in a quilt. How about that? This is something we, as quilters, already knew of course, but now we can point to many different science research studies to say, "Look, honey, I am taking care of my brain, potentially preventing the onset of dementia and resetting my parasympathetic nervous system. So, I am heading out to do some fabric shopping."

Science reports from CNN and the The Journal of Public Health state the following conclusions about quilting as a hobby;

~quilting challenges you to engage new parts of your brain,

~ working with color uplifts your spirit and heightens your awareness of your natural surroundings,

~quilting is an altruistic exercise,

~quilting can displace depression, anxiety, PTSD and chronic pain via the brains ability to work in a "flow" state,

~while the brain is occupied in the "flow" state, the involuntary part of your nervous system is activated,

~while doing an activity you enjoy, your brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine which floods the reward\happy center of your brain,

~and finally, quilting increases self-efficacy which is a key skill to approach and conquer new challenges and overcome disappointment.

Studies were done on various groups of quilters that included young and old, and new and very experienced quilters. Getting into a state of "flow has been studied for years by a psychologist and TED Talk speaker named, Minaly Csikszentmihalyi. When the brain is occupied completely with an activity(flow), it does not have the capacity to also highlight feelings from depression or other other physical pains. It works in connection with dopamine to ease negative feelings and activate the reward system in the brain. The repetitive patterns associated with quilting, then activates your involuntary nervous system (parasympathetic), calming the fight or flight portion of your primitive brain, relaxing muscles, decreasing heart rate and increasing positive intestinal and glandular activity in the body. Decreasing feelings of stress can also decrease chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, according to the Journal of Neuropsychiatry.

Wow! Betcha didn't know you were doing so much good for your brain and your body, just by making beautiful quilts.

So-flex that brain and increase your neuroplasticity AND have fun doing it. I'm off to the fabric store! ;)

Melissa & Rachel