About 14 years ago I first learned the basics of the Japanese art of folding paper, otherwise known as Origami. After learning it in school, my entire family decided to take part and for months we had weekly origami sessions where we would get out our giant origami book and attempt to complete something that evening. Over time we slowly got busier and busier until this tradition ceased. But Origami has been instilled in my heart ever since.
Last year I purchased a used book on the art of Origami. I had heaps of scrapbook paper already, and so quickly, the joy of paper folding returned. I spent hours creating paper flowers, butterflies, birds, and many other weird looking creatures that I happened upon by accident. Origami has been a part of the Japanese culture for centuries, and is still convincing new families a world away to get involved. So what are the benefits of taking up Origami as a hobby?
Origami stimulates creativity. Did you ever think you could form a flying crane using just one sheet of paper? Or create a bouquet of beautiful lilies? There is a wide range of unique and creative projects that can be done using origami.
It boosts mood. Origami takes concentration and focus. Having a project to focus all of your energy and creativity into actually distracts from cravings and decreases depression, anxiety and stress. Origami can be done at your own pace and your own time, making it relaxing and overall enjoyable.
It is easy to start. Unlike a lot of crafty hobbies, origami is easy to start practicing. All you need is paper, preferably origami paper to begin with because it is thinner and easy to fold, and how-to steps, which can be from a book or the Internet.
It brings a sense of accomplishment. Origami can be very frustrating at times. Struggling to make a fold clean enough or small enough can make you want to give up all together. This makes it a good tool to practice distress tolerance skills. When you feel that you are getting angry and want to give up, just take a little break and practice the techniques that successfully relax you. Then, when you finally master that difficult origami fold you feel accomplished and assured that with patience, tolerance and emotional regulation you can do what you set your mind to.
Origami facilitates in developing fine motor skills. Whether it is due to aging or illness, the hands may lose the ability to function the way they used to. Practicing origami helps build muscle and regain control of hand movements.