I recently took up knitting. I used to be a knitter way back in the day. I'm not sure why I gave it up, but it was most likely because I was working in antique restoration and woodworking all day, which provided plenty of busy hands and silent contemplation.
You see, for a while, I've have been thinking that I should try meditation. Not that I'm a head case or anything, but I've seen umpteen articles about the benefits of meditation for general well being and productivity, and who can't use a little of that? Problem was, I never got around to it, it just seemed like such a monumental thing to start doing.
Then I saw this article by Jane Brody in the New York Times about the benefits of knitting. Now this I could do.
I am making myself a hat. I bought my yarn and got the pattern from Soho Purl. I'll admit that casting on 160 untwisted stitches onto a size 3 circular needle was aggravating as shit, but after that it's been pure zen. I absolutely love it and knit whenever I am feeling stressed or basically whenever I can steal a few minutes to knock off a few rounds.
Knitting has also given me a much healthier replacement to Candy Crush, which I was using as a mental distractor in the moments that I am now knitting. Not to trash the thrill that all those dropping candies and sounds can have, but Candy Crush is hardly the gateway to total consciousness (I say this with a large dose of sarcasm) and has pretty similar effects on the brain as slot machines, which kind of bums me out.