In the last several years, I've been a big proponent of the idea that creating beautiful things is an emotional need for people, But it's especially a need for stay at home moms, whose many daily accomplishments are less tangible and more fleeting. Such creative endeavors might be simple or complex. Anything that makes the world a prettier place according to any of the senses, and brings pleasure and relaxation to the doer. I think of things such as singing some songs or playing piano; baking cookies or bread; crocheting a scarf; quilting; redecorating a room; or even scrubbing a well soiled wall.
But it has to bring refreshment. It can't be something on that "to do" list. I mean, if baking bread is something you have to accomplish, it can't count for refreshment, no matter how much you enjoy doing it.
Lately I've been crocheting. Mostly scarves. I love it. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! And I think it's good for me in some deep way that I can't quite explain. Except to say that the sense of accomplishment at creating a thing of beauty is healthful.
But now I have a real, honest to goodness, medical reason why this is so.
My good friend, Lisa, who is also a professional family counselor, explained it to me. I probably can't explain it all well. But in a nutshell, it is because of how the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work together.
When a person does quiet refreshing hobbies, it gives the parasympathetic nervous system quiet time to do what it's supposed to do. Active endeavors use primarily the sympathetic nervous system, which somehow overshadows the parasympathetic. The parasympathetic needs down time. So when a person is always busy and active, the parasympathetic doesn't have a chance to perform those things it needs to do, in order to keep a person in optimal mental health.
Isn't that interesting?
Lisa, if you wish, please leave a comment giving any additional info that explains better for my readers what you explained to me last night. Thanks.