Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Anticipation, New Needlework Project, Dopamine and Sex

Trust me on that title. They all come together somehow in this post.

Just a couple of weeks ago, there was a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience that linked listening to moving music with the release of the feel-good chemical, dopamine, within our brains.

Dopamine provides us with feelings of motivation, enjoyment and happiness. Food and sex release dopamine...

So, it wasn't really any surprise to me to learn that listening to the best parts of your favorite music releases dopamine.

Anyone who has jogged while listening to their iPod knows this. Somehow, a hill seems a lot easier to climb with Aretha Franklin blaring "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" in my ear. I only have to think about the Rocky song, Gonna Fly Now, and I can see Rocky Balboa sprinting through the pre-dawn streets of Philadelphia...and I AM...Rocky Balboa.

But I digress...Why am I telling you this?

Well, the study discovered something else that was very interesting.

Not only was dopamine released during the listening to the actual music...

But it was also released in the anticipation of listening.

And there it is. Eureka.

Anticipation of Pleasurable Activity = Dopamine Release

I can't help but extrapolate what we all know. I mean, it's not such a jump to conclude...

Anticipating the start of a new and exciting needlework project makes us happy. Ergo,

New Needlework Project = Dopamine Release

We know that, don't we. But the study's conclusions made me think that this dopamine release might explain why we get so much pleasure from starting...and not so much pleasure from finishing...

Of course, if those two equations are makes me wonder about this one...

New Needlework Project = Sex (?)

But I'll let you decide that one.

Now to the subject of today's post (yes...there is a message to deliver here somewhere)...

About 10 months ago, I signed up to participate in Jane Crowfoot's 2011 Crochet Club mystery which I had read about on Ravelry.

When I signed up, these were the only pics I had to go on to decide to join the club or not.

I loved the pattern, loved the colors, loved the beads...

And I loved that it was cotton (I'm allergic to wool)...

But, most of all, I love I signed up.

And forgot all about it.

Until my yarn arrived last week. And my first pattern arrived in my inbox.

I'm starting a new crochet project and the happy chemicals are flowing.

Anticipation. New balls of yarn. A Mystery Project.

All. Make. Me. Happy. And. Motivated.

Hey, it's cheaper than drugs...I think.


gracie said...

Your title really caught my attention!
Love the yarn...can't wait to see what you do with it.

jayne@~an eye for threads~ said...

You have a beautiful blog and I just love your wonderful header. Creativity at it's best
Be always in stitches.

Lynn said...

Those colors are scrumptious!

I've just started a mystery lace sampler through the Lace Guild. This month's technique is tambour. Very slow going--its killer on the eyes!

Love the study findings. Nice way to catch our attention you little minx, you!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a great title. Music is very nice while needleworking. Thinking about projects makes me feel good too.
I look forward to seeing what you will create with these lovely threads.


Gerry Krueger said...

Ah I love the anticipation and creative juices but then a staff to finish things would be nice... Ger

Patty C. said...

You are absolutely hilarious
I think the project looks fabulous - I can't wait to see the progress

Beautiful colors !!

Vicky aka Stichr said...

dopamine has been flowing freely around my brain lately...course i thought it was just plain ole arty excitement...thank you for clearing that up!

i just have to add that your photos make me get all doppy inside. and your love of color is another pleasy thing. i get all smurfy....oh oh, my right brain is leaking goofy cells....

Catherine said...

Love this thought process!! Love the colors and can't wait to see more!

Marty52 said...

You'll have to let us know how that yarn is to work with... I'm thinking of using some for a project,too. You managed to surprise yourself! LOL!

Judy S. said...

Looks like you have yourself a happy-making project. What awesome colors!

Ingrid Mida said...

You are too funny.
Needlework has long associations with sex. If you don't believe me, you should read the book The Subversive Stitch. The needle is highly symbolic.
Good luck with the crochet.

Cathy said...

Well, as long as we all have Safe Needlework, then it`s definitely a win-win. What a beautiful project you will be doing - can’t wait to see it develop. For the first time in 8+ years, I am crocheting an afghan in my “spare time”, and loving it. Great post! Hugs, Cathy

Chris Daly said...

What a teaser photo. I can't wait to see your mystery project.

Unknown said...

Gorgeous yarn, can't wait to see what you do! I think I would love to make a throw in all cotton yarn... hmmmm.

New Needlework Project = Sex (?)
Ahahahahahahahahhaha!! LOVE it!
Not sure if it's cheaper than drugs, but I'll go with you on that one LOL

Rachel said...

What a strange life you lead...!

Although, that said, planning a new piece definitely releases dopamine. Comparison with sex? Er - can we plead the Fifth Amendment?

Beth Lea said...

What an eye-catching title!!

I'd also heard about the dopamine link with needlework due to 'repetitive hand movements'... (I'll stop there I think - lol!)

Btw, thanks for the Evernote tip - I've gone premium - great help, really want things to be 'virtually' tidied-up.

Sheila said...

OHH! That totally explains all those sly double entendre's in the "The Happy Hooker" by Debbie Stoller! (*wink, wink)

Tongue in cheek, here: That's the How to crochet book, by the gal that did the Stitch N'Bitch books. (Great resource, by the way ;))

Har! Have fun with your hooking, Susan! Those are some beautiful colors. And I love the beads! Can you share some pictures of how you do those? That's on my to-do list on my things to learn how to do for the baby hat's series I'm working on. You're keeping the rest of us inspired.


Barbara C said...

This makes total sense to me: the anticipation of a lot of things, stitching projects especially, makes me feel great. Similarly, reading cookbooks is perhaps even more fulfilling than actually cooking sometimes. It's finishing those nagging details like binding a quilt, weaving in the ends of knitting, or washing the pots, that dampen the pleasure.

Your crochet project looks intriguing. What's the pattern called?

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