CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Creative Activities Like Baking and Knitting Boost Mental Well-Being

iStock
iStock

Research has already shown us that making art is a good stress reliever, even if your skill level is more kindergartener than Picasso. Now a new study from the University of Otago in New Zealand suggests that these mood-boosting effects can be gained from even the most straightforward crafts. As the Independent reports, knitting, baking, crocheting, and jam-making were all found to produce an “upward spiral” effect that carried over to the following day.

For the study, published last month in The Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers from the university’s department of psychology asked 658 students to record their daily experiences and emotional states in a diary for 13 days. Following the days when subjects took part in something creative, they reported feelings of positive personal growth that psychology defines as “flourishing.” In addition to crafts and cooking, researchers also cited painting, sketching, writing, musical performance, and digital design as some common creative activities students completed.

These results shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s experienced the zen-like effects of knitting a scarf or crocheting a blanket. According to the Craft Yarn Council, stress relief and creative fulfillment are the top two reasons knitters and crocheters give for partaking in the hobbies. Baking has also been touted as a form of therapy, with some mental health clinics using time in the kitchen as a treatment for depression. Another benefit of improving your mood through creativity is that the results of your labors can be shared with others—so if you’re still in need of gifts for the holidays, we suggest heading to the craft store and reaping some of the benefits yourself.

[h/t Independent]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
fun
Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
iStock
iStock

Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Art
A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios