Previously if I felt stressed, I always knew that in picking up my knitting and working the first few stitches, the stress would fall away and I would feel instantly better. Why is that? I think it's partly learned associations, since I've spent long, relaxing hours enjoying myself knitting, maybe in front of the TV. I associate knitting with down-time. More than that it feels like there's something else at work with knitting, as if the "negative voice" in my head that at times seems to invite in an entire committee to point out my worries and limitations is silenced. Maybe that part of my brain is busy, put to work forming the stitches.
With the reduction in stress comes the chance to properly think through problems and come up with an answer to the realities of life that I'm facing. "Okay, so I have this problem, I might not like it, but how am I going to deal with it?" I sit and knit and ponder and possible resolutions present themselves.
That was before. Now my stress comes from my knitting! I have a business based on something that I love - but can I love it any longer with the stress it's giving me? No matter, I have to knit, I have a pattern to finish, I have to just get on with it!
I pick up my needles and knit and, despite my fears, the warmth of the wooden needles and the smooth yarn feeding through my hands are enough; the stress is washed from me just the same as always. As before, I find healing in its repetition and monotony and I am freed to think and solve.
Whatever else might make my stress levels rise, it's not knitting.