Many of us are led to believe that mental health treatment looks the same for nearly everyone: doctors, therapy, perhaps prescription medications, and lots of time spent recovering. But, as time goes on, more and more less traditional means of managing mental health symptoms emerge. One such lesser-known, but quite effective, activity is woodworking.
Those experiencing mental health disorders like depression may stand to benefit quite a bit from woodworking. Even if it’s not a part of an official treatment plan, woodworking offers a great deal of mental health benefits and is certainly worth considering.
Art and mental health overlap in many ways; art therapy, commonly used to treat a variety of mental illnesses, is a great opportunity to teach individuals to communicate emotions in a way that feels safe, effective, and personal.
Woodworking accomplishes all of these goals and more. Various studies point to the fact that doing something artistic and looking at art are very different experiences biologically, suggesting that creation engages the mind in a unique way.
What can woodworking do to help with depression?
Woodworking is particularly helpful when it comes to managing depression, whether it be acute or chronic. Some specific benefits of woodworking are as follows:
Woodworking can be a great team-building exercise; in fact, woodworking and similar crafts are sometimes even part of group therapy sessions. Finding an approachable and genuinely interesting way to bond with others who experience depression can help an individual feel less alone. Having a good support system is a vital part of treating any mental health concern.
Woodworking is more than just an art form or a vocation. It stimulates the brain in many different ways and thus has tangible effects on a person’s physical and psychological health.
While woodworking as a mode of therapy is still a relatively new idea, its benefits have the potential to set it apart as an alternative or addition to existing methods of treatment. While crafts like woodworking may not be able to completely treat depression on their own, they are a great treatment tool; they encourage individuals to engage in creative expression, step outside of their comfort zone, and invest time in something productive.