So while I've not been feeling 100% I've been filling time by doing some hand stitching. I posted photos as I worked on my Instagram feed (hope you follow along!). And on some of the posts people commented how therapeutic it is to do the stitching. That set me thinking, because I actually feel quite the opposite and don't find it therapeutic at all! Why?
I think the general preconception is that the repetitive task of hand stitching is calming and meditative. I don't know if it's because I've done so much hand stitch in my life, but for me it's much more mechanical than that. My brain isn't engaged in the doing of it and that leaves my mind to wander. Having time to think (and therefore worry) when it's an anxious time isn't conducive to relaxation. Well not for me anyway!
Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy doing the stitching, but it's not the distraction that it needs to be at the moment. I have been thinking that if I want to take my mind off things, what I really ought to do is paint. It was just an instinct thing, but I read this week that there's an interesting scientific reason why this actually works. When painting, you engage the frontal cortex of your brain. It's a bit of the brain that doesn't multi-task, it focusses on one thing at a time only.
Every brush mark is a decision, something that I need to concentrate on, consider carefully. I'm completely engaged in the painting process, rather than the simple 'doing' of stitch. I suspect it's also a speed thing. Stitching is slow. The decision is made on how and what to sew, then it's a case of just getting on with it. Whereas with painting things are happening fast, changes are taking place affecting other things, there's much more immediate consequence, more drama, more risk, more brain required.
So my little stitched textile is done and I've glued it to a wooden panel ready to paint. It's sitting patiently on my easel while I decide exactly what I'm going to do with it next.
Thanks for visiting today.