I read somewhere that knitting may keep our minds sharper than people who don't do something to engage their brains as they age. A study of long-lived nuns found that precise activities like knitting and writing helped the women stay sharp in their old age, and that one nun was still knitting mittens and having involved conversations at age 104.
That sounds encouraging to me. As much yarn as I have stashed and all the knitting patterns that I have collected and saved - for when I have time - I should be able to stay on top of things for a good long time.
Actually, for me, knitting is a way to relax and refresh. Doing something repetitive actually soothes the mind. There's just something satisfying about the clicking of the knitting needles and watching your project grow.
Some of my favorite projects have been making baby afghans and my current project is to making wrist warmers or fingerless gloves. I work a lot in offices on computers and my hands get cold. Fingerless gloves really help to keep them warm.
A really simple pattern is to cast on 36 stitches with Size 5 knitting needles. Work knit2,purl2 ribbing for about 2". Switch to stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) for 3" to 4" (measure from your wrist to just the beginning of your fingers. Switch back to knit2,purl2 ribbing for about 1/2". Cast off. Fold the rectangle into a tube with the ribbing at each end. Using a tapestry needle sew the 2" ribbing together, leave about 1" to 2" space for thumb unsewn and then sew the rest of the way through the 1/2" ribbing. Work in the ends and you have a simple fingerless glove. My hands are small so if you want them a little bigger, just cast on more stitches - just remember the number of stitches needs to be divisible by 4.