People who are diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, or other types of chronic restlessness may find themselves fidgeting in many different ways. Research has shown that fidgeting can help release excess energy, allowing the brain to focus on what it is trying to process. Many people with ADHD rely on knitting as their fidget of choice for several reasons.
Most knitters consider knitting to be a fun and challenging pastime, but research shows that knitting can dramatically increase the quality of life for people suffering from many diagnosis, including ADD and ADHD. When trying to focus on a TV show or movie, simultaneous knitting can release the fidgety energy that makes it difficult to focus. Many college students bring their knitting to their lecture halls and knit during class, allowing them to better absorb the presented material. A recent study concluded that students with ADHD regularly used an outlet for fidgeting (knitting, stress ball, pop-it), they demonstrated improved scholastic achievement.
Case studies have shown that focus and retention can be improved with knitting. When people who have ADHD can control or direct their movements, focus and concentration are improved. Our brain stem controls basic body function, such as breathing, heart rate, alertness, etc. Research has found that people with ADHD can have brain stem irregularities that impair alertness and focus. Movement, such as knitting, is an effective way to stimulate the brain stem, which sends signals to the brain that help us to focus.
A major complaint from people with ADHD is that they lack productivity. They may bounce from one project to another. They may have a thought and then quickly switch to something else. Knitting can become a subconscious activity that very quickly produces a tangible garment. Completing a project stimulates part of the brain that produces feelings of reward and pleasure. The resulting feeling motivates the knitter to continue knitting.
If you are a person who struggles with ADHD, knitting is the perfect hobby for you. In fact, knitting is commonly used as a therapy for children with ADHD because it raises movement awareness and enables control. We love that knitting has so many meaningful benefits.