Hobbies that calm you down: Cutting out shapes

Scissor

By User:Bangin (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

When I was a young child in day-care, still learning how to properly use my hands and fingers to perform high motor skills, I learnt how to craft. Yes we had crafting in my day-care, it was fun even if I don’t remember most of it, in fact most of what I’m about to tell you I found out later from listening to stories from my mother when we were cleaning up the house one day.

We were rearranging some things in a cupboard and I came across some paper cut-outs of various shapes. Stars, animals even a Santa Claus. When I asked about it my mother told me about how we used to do crafts in my day-care and I used to like cutting out shapes. I was a little surprised actually; would a day care let kids near scissors? Then my mother told me they used plastic safety scissors and it all made sense.

Anyway, I went through my cut out collection and there were a lot of them, some of them were just simple cut outs and some of them were coloured in crayon, I must have really liked it considering the amount. A few days later, I had some free time on my hands so I decided to try cutting out some shapes again like I used to. My reasoning was that I must have liked it back then for a reason, so who’s to say I still don’t. So I took some paper, made some drawings (mostly hero like characters and their accessories, they didn’t come out so well) and I started cutting out the drawings.

At first I was just doing it out of boredom but after a few snips I started to really get into it. I was being precise, making sure to cut along the outlines, making sure the cuts were neat and smooth, being fast when I could, slowing down when I had to, and by the end of it all I was quite proud of what had come out. The drawings and their cut outs were not going to win any art competitions but hey I had fun while I made them, it kept me busy, all my concentration was on making a good cut-out and I felt very creative while I was doing it.

So how does this help you with stress? Well, I already mentioned how all my focus was on cutting out the shape so obviously you can’t really think about stressful things while your cutting; but another reason is what this phenomenon comes under: crafting.

Crafting is a proven way to help people against stress and anxiety. This article from   thealternativedaily.com titled, “Five Ways Crafting Reduces Stress”, talks about, as the title says, five ways crafting helps ease a person’s mind. These are the ways crafting can help stress that they talk about:

  1. It helps divert your focus from your anxieties
  2. It helps you become more confident in yourself and your abilities
  3. It helps you feel more in control
  4. It can help you find more friends
  5. It can be akin to meditation

There’s also this article from davidwolfe.com where a “Neuroscientist Explains Why Crafting Is Great for Mental Health” which also happens to be the name of the article. They have a nice little video at the end of the article where they explain how crafting can help us. Here I’ll leave it for you to watch.

Anyway that’s about all I have to say on the subject. I know the evidence I gave was more about crafting in general but I decided to focus on cutting shapes because that’s one which I like to do personally. It’s just another thing you can try to do when you’re stressed out. You can draw out your own shapes and cut them out, or if you don’t feel like drawing you can just take some images from the internet and cut them out. I hope you liked this post and found it helpful. Let me just end with this, and if you are thinking of cutting shapes be careful, there are sharp objects involved after all.

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