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.

Why woodworking?

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.

woodworker in a shop

Woodworking allows artists to create work that’s not just beautiful, but practical. The pride that comes with creating a long-lasting memento and the joy that comes from creating make this hobby one that can truly change lives. Overall, woodworking can positively impact your overall state of health.

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:

Peace

In layman terms, woodworking comes down to cutting up pieces of wood and turning them into art. It doesn’t have to be anything grand or overly complicated, especially not when you’re a beginner. Taking on a creative project like woodworking gives many people the chance to remove themselves from stressful environments, focus on the present moment, and express themselves safely, all of which can promote feelings of peace and tranquility.

Fulfillment

Creating anything with your own hands is likely to instill a sense of accomplishment within you. Finding a “purpose,” or at least something to be proud of and look forward to, is beneficial for many individuals who experience depression.
woman in woodworking class

Serotonin

Serotonin, a hormone produced by the brain to control mood, plays a large role in treating depressive symptoms, and for good reason. Serotonin deficiency can result in a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and more. Evidence suggests that woodworking can actually increase serotonin levels, making it an easy and natural option for boosting one’s mood and helping offset the challenges of depression.

Productive distraction

Woodworking is a genuine skill that can help you create things of value while also practicing skills like persistence and patience especially when you share woodworking with your family and friends. It can act as a productive, healthy way to keep yourself distracted from what is weighing you down.

Confidence booster

Taking up learning art forms (unconventional ones in particular) helps you stand out and give you a unique skill set that can help boost confidence, tackle issues, and challenge insecurities.
kids woodworking

Confidence booster

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.

(To know more about the benefits of woodworking, you can also check how woodworking improve your mental health)

Conclusion

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.

Robert