4 Small Ways to Calm Anxiety

February 8, 2023

By Christa Protano

If you’re reading former First Lady Michelle Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, you are probably familiar with the phrase, “The Power of Small.” It’s the idea of finding a practical hobby or outlet to help ease anxiety and quiet the mind. For Obama, that meant learning to knit. “Shaken by the enormity of everything that was happening, I needed my hands to introduce me to what was good, simple and accomplishable,” she writes in the LA Times. Given the state of the world these days, we think Obama is on to something. I mean, at this point, we’ll try anything for a little calm in the chaos, won’t we? Here are four doable hobbies you can do at home.

Needle Your Way to Mindfulness

Since the pandemic began, the traditional art of embroidery — the practice of stitching decorative patterns on fabric with needle and thread — has been hailed for its calming and relaxing benefits. Many users find needling their way through a small project to be meditative and an essential component of self care. To get you started, consider an embroidery kit with a popular theme.

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Crochet Some Cuteness

Similar to knitting, crochet uses a hook-and-yarn technique to create objects. Whether you have some experience with this type of craft or want to see if it’s a good fit, the amirgurumi style of crochet gives new meaning to the “power of small.” With this Japanese practice, tiny versions of beloved characters are sewn together and then stuffed for maximum cuteness. Need an example? Check out this crochet kit.

Bake It ’Til You Make It

Like Obama, Lottie Bedlow — a fan favorite of the The Great British Bake Offfound herself looking for a creative outlet to cope with everyday anxiety. In an article posted on she writes, For me, baking started as an escape from a busy and stressful London life.” Soon she wanted to share her personal hobby with others, which ultimately led to writing Baking Imperfect. In this recipe book, Lottie guides readers through dozens of tasty recipes with her trademark wit and easygoing nature. Ready to get messy in the kitchen? Get the recipe book here.

Paint a Happy Little Tree

Perhaps the most iconic hobbyist to embody this practice of attainable artistic expression is landscape painter Bob Ross. While his voice alone can put you in a mellow mood, its his easy-to-follow, joyful style of painting that can do wonders for a positive mindset. That said, it’s no surprise that at one time there were more than 3,500 Certified Ross Instructors worldwide teaching his wet-on-wet oil technique. Thanks to this activity kit, Ross enthusiasts can pick up a new skill without leaving the house.

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