I know that being creative can be a large struggle. We put it off, and don’t make time for it. It feels like an indulgence or being selfish. In our pressured, productive world it can feel like a waste of time.
And yet we know and suspect that there is more to creativity than that. When we have practised some form of creativity, writing, doodling, taking photos, singing, dancing, cooking, painting we know that we feel good.
You’ve experienced feelings of peace and wellbeing when making something. You’ve enjoyed the time spent being creative even if not totally satisfied with the result of your endeavour.
I have too. I’ve experienced the benefits of being creative and noted the positive effect it had on my mind, body and soul.
Practising regular creativity is a form of self-care that can be a strategy for staying mentally well. Creative activities, such as painting, gardening and creative writing, and have long been known to boost happiness and wellbeing.
So how exactly is creativity good for our health? Here are six specific ways:
6 ways creativity is good for your health.
1. Single tasking increases your mental focus
When focused on making something your mind is engaged in that one activity for a prolonged length of time. With the constantly contactable, and connected online world that we scroll through on our screens, our minds suffer from not being able to concentrate on one thing at a time. Rather than making us able to multi-task well it serves to help us do many things badly. Studies have shown that it is better to focus on one thing at a time, it slows the heart beat and eases anxiety.
2. Working with your hands allows your mind to solve problems
Single tasking also has the benefit of allowing your mind to wander and think on problems that your mind may need to sort through. I’ve known the soothing power of rhythmic stitching or crocheting and being able to do something with your hands can help your mind day-dream or think about things that we may have not made space to do.
3. Expressing your feelings and emotions
Writing, painting and drawing and other creative outlets can give a voice to emotions that we are going through. This helps us to process emotions healthily. Writing about life goals or trauma have both been found to help to decrease illness.
4. Classes or groups may increase the sense of belonging and community
Taking a class to learn new creative skills or joining a group to get creative together, can establish new friendships and the more someone feels part of a group or community, wellbeing increases.
5. Reigniting former passions that may have lapsed
Rediscovering former creative pursuits that may have lapsed can increase a sense of wellbeing. Taking the time to do something you previously enjoyed can be beneficial and creates a sense of pleasure and fun. Finding the things you are passionate about can give purpose, interest and meaning to your days.
6. Creative play gives a sense freedom
Creative play gives a sense of freedom that children enjoy – being creative with no fear of judgement, no comparison, no striving for results all give creativity an essence of fun and freedom that in today’s pressurised world we rarely feel.
Free-drawing, doodling and colouring trigger the brain’s reward centre by increasing blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, research shows. Pleasure is gained by being creative independent from results.
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