The art of beading has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the 14th century when the first glass beads were produced. What has made the art of beading withstand centuries and what is so lovely and beautiful about it? People of all ages have enjoyed the craft of beading for generations and each day more are getting themselves involved in beading and jewelry making. This beloved hobby is not only fun for people and a way to express creativity or earn a small profit, but the best part of all is that beading is good for your health! Oh yes you read it right, beading has many health benefits too! Both adults and children can experience the many therapeutic benefits of beading and jewelry making. Beading requires skills used by your brain to think, reason, and focus, but most of all, it relaxes us and makes us happy!
Beading for our Mental Health
Did you know that approximately 1-in-5 people GLOBALLY have a mental health disorder at any given time? From anxiety and depression to eating disorders and substance abuse, the mental health of the global population is on the decline. Our fast-paced lifestyles and constant hurrying to our next commitment is in no way beneficial to our overall well-being. We strive for success but barely give ourselves time to rest and enjoy the things that truly make us happy and calm our ever-moving minds. It is so important that we take into account our brain health and overall well-being and put into practice things that bring us joy, soothe and comfort us, and provide anxiety relief.
One of those comfort-bringing practices is art and crafting, and beading falls into that category. But you may ask, how is beading actually good for my mental health?
Encourages Mindfulness and Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Beading keeps our hands busy and our minds at ease. The time spent beading necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and embroidery requires full focus and concentration on the present moment, allowing us to practice mindfulness, and helps prevent our thoughts from wandering. The time we spend beading is spent constructively, and with purpose, and helps us escape the world around us, slow down, and focus on one task, one bead at a time. Many beading projects are done by stringing beads one-by-one, forcing the beader to take his or her time and to fixate on a singular task.
The repetitive nature of stringing beads is calming, almost like meditation. It can help to relieve stress by preventing a beader from trying to multitask, encouraging them to maintain focus on a sole task. Starting a pattern and growing with it slowly helps a person to slow their mind, be patient, and witness their creation unfold gradually. Beading allows one to abandon other life stressors and escape into an activity that will sooth and calm the mind. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Boosts Our Creativity and Self-Esteem
Not only does beading promote mindfulness and relieve stress, it also encourages creativity and boosts our self esteem. The art of beading and the endless design and creative possibilities that come with that, gives the beader an area to let his or her imagination work. There are thousands of beads to choose from, in hundreds of colors and finishes, all ready to be used to create something beautiful. There are endless beading materials to choose from, from seed beads and Czech pressed glass, to gemstones and freshwater pearls, giving a beader endless possibilities.
Whether a beader is following a pattern, or developing their own design, the individual can play around with color combinations and textures and watch their design unfold. The end result of one’s imagination and creativity put to work is a finished piece that it’s creator can be proud of. After cycling through the entire creative process, the piece of jewelry can provide a person with a sense of accomplishment and bring them pride, joy, and satisfaction. Beading makes us feel happy, and when we as humans do things that make us feel good, our brains respond by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are the very chemicals in our brain that reduce stress and promote happiness. Art therapy is also proven to help alleviate anxiety by reducing the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.
Beading can be done is a group setting as well, allowing individuals to share ideas, stories and help one another out. In addition, it gives beaders the opportunity to provide each other with positive feedback and recommendations in design. Take Potomac Bead’s Beading and Jewelry Making Facebook Group for example. It is an online community where people can share their work, ask questions, provide feedback, and encourage one another.
Beading is Beneficial for Children Too
Imagine a situation where a child is beading, grasping the small beads one at a time and stringing them on thread. The repetitive motion of the beading process is extremely beneficial to a child’s fine motor skills as it strengthens their small, growing muscles. The act of grasping both small and large beads repeatedly for a particular pattern involves many hand movements. These repeated movements can help develop and strengthen a child’s grip and hand dexterity, which can lead to improved writing and coloring skills at school.
Encourages Creativity and Imagination
Beading gives children the perfect outlet to use their creativity and imagination. With beading, there are no lines to color in or rules to follow, only creative freedom. Beads are available in all different shapes, colors, sizes and textures. From fun lampwork beads and colorful mixed magnesite gemstones, to wooden beads and metal charms. Children are able to play around and experiment with color combinations, patterns, or no pattern at all! A child’s unique creation is made possible by their own originality and imagination which is vital for their developing minds.
Improved Fine Motor Skills and Concentration
As children get older, they are required to concentrate more and more, whether that be in school, or doing chores, or while riding a bike. The art of beading requires a certain level of concentration from the beader. If a child is sticking with a pattern, they need to concentrate on which beads they need to pick up, how many beads to use, and in which order they need to thread the beads. In addition, the child needs to focus on threading a small thread or string through the small hole of a bead. All of these things require patience and focus while helping to fine tune visual motor skills and gross motor skills. These seemingly meaningless tasks are great tools in helping children sharpen their minds with persistence, concentration, and focus on a specific task.
Offering a Sense of Accomplishment
When the piece they are creating is finished, a child then experiences the joy and satisfaction of a job well done. In addition, children then have a tangible item, imagined and created by only them, that they can be proud of. The satisfaction and pride in their work will grant a child a sense of accomplishment and provide them with a boost of self-esteem that every child needs to feel.
Beading as a group activity will help a child create playmates and make the whole activity more fun. Forming ideas with other children teaches a child how to collaborate and work with other children. It promotes sharing and the importance of teamwork and allows children the opportunity to encourage and give compliments to one another. Being able to share ideas with peers also helps to build a child’s self confidence in their ideas and abilities.
Are you having a rough day or week? Are you experiencing anxiety symptoms, feeling lonely and uninspired, and in need of a confidence boost? It is no secret that art is therapeutic and helps relieve our stress and gives us a boost of happiness. There are many studies on this very topic. Beading will help calm your mind and anxieties, and propel you to beautiful creations that you can delight in. Allow your imagination to run wild, grab your beading supplies, and start creating!
#Happy Beading! – No pun intended =)