Watching someone who is absorbed in the art of scrapbooking, the observer gets a feeling that there is more taking place than participation in a hobby. Immersed in photographs and memorabilia, the hobbyist appears to rise above the current stress of life as the task provides a mental break from the demands of the day. Shared with loved ones or friends, scrapbooking is also an avenue for spending quality time together while sharing ideas behind a single purpose.
But don’t just accept the words of an insider. Indeed the Craft and Hobby Association emphasizes the “therapeutic benefits” of this particular hobby. According to estimates by the association, people in 35 percent of U.S. households both enjoy scrapbooking a regular basis and enjoy the therapetuic rewards. In addition, there is a benefit that should not be overlooked: The pride in a finished product, or the complete scrapbook itself.
The benefits of scrapbooking have long been embraced by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which launched a therapeutic scrapbooking program for parents 10 years ago. Now a study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, which analyzed the influence of the scrapbooking sessions, found that they promote hopefulness and help parents expand their support network. The study highlights a previously unknown benefit of scrapbooking.
“Even though the craft of scrapbooking is widespread, its use as a tool for mental health professionals is just developing,” stated Paul McCarthy, a St. Jude social worker. “I hope our experience at St. Jude encourages others to try it in diverse settings with a variety of different groups, both young and old.”
Plainly, the association and St. Jude are convinced of the lifetime benefits of scrapbooking. While there are most likely too many to list all of them, these benefits usually fall into one of five areas.
The first is the benefit of giving, or the joy one feels when one creates a unique piece that requires great thought and the sharing of memories.
The next is the recording of events for people in the past, and future, to remember important occasions and life events that help to define individuals and families in unique ways.
The quiet and reflective mindset that accompanies scrapbooking is a third benefit. In a culture where medication is often a first resort for addressing anxiety, scrapbooking provides a meaningful and soothing break from the stresses of life.
The benefit of normalizing traumatic events, such as divorce, illness and death by putting memories in a cohesive yet expressive order, is a fourth benefit. In this way, scrapbooking promotes not just self-expression, but self-healing and a sense of inner peace, as the people at St. Jude have discovered.
In conclusion, there is the benefit of self-worth in putting the finishing touches on a signature project, which, like the human being who created it, is an inimitable creation. And this benefit, as any seasoned scrapbooker will confirm, is one of the greatest benefits of all: It is a fun, rewarding hobby that provides hours of enjoyment after the book is complete.
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