The Positive Benefits of Creativity
Seeing a friend’s recent Instagram post got me thinking about the positive benefits of creativity. In her post she talked about returning to painting – something she’d not done for a long time. And she described how she felt her return to this particular creative endeavour nurturing her soul. In particular because she’s decided to paint and draw and create for the experience and the journey alone, rather than a means to make money. And that was something she’d tried to do but found it dragged her down.
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our soulsPablo Picasso
Of course, it’s only in recent months that we’ve begun to emerge, because I’d hesitate to say Covid is gone, from a time when most of us struggled to nurture our souls. As this article from The Conversation points out, the pandemic took its toll on the mental health of many people. What with the fear of the virus itself and then the restrictions on our movements many of us felt more loneliness, anxiety and depression than might be usual. If you find you’ve lost the interest and joy in things that you love to do then that’s one symptom of your mental health not being as robust as it might be. Called anhedonia, this lack of interest is a common depression symptom.
Creativity takes many forms
Of course, creativity comes in many guises. You don’t have to be artistic in the Picasso sense to experience the positive benefits of creativity. Diversus health write here about the mental health benefits of creativity. In their article they state how the scientific world is ever revealing encouraging evidence about creativity and its positive effect on mental health.
So, whether you’re into painting, party planning plant potting or poetry writing, getting creative helps you to view the world with fresh eyes. The act of creating gives you a space to produce beautiful work for sure – but also to solve problems and refresh your bodies and minds. Like Heineken beer, creativity refreshes the parts that other activities can’t reach!
As an aside, that advertising slogan achieved royal approval back in the 1990s when Prince Charles pronounced:’ painting transports me into another dimension. One which, quite literally, refreshes parts of the soul that other activities can’t reach.’ It’s ironic then that the creator of that slogan reports how it almost drove him to suicide.
Doing something fun then, has a positive effect on our mental health. Keen gardeners will tell you how much better they feel, in the emotional sense, when they’ve been out in the garden or allotment.
The burning question then, is that of how. How does creativity improve mental health? Let’s return to the Diversus article. That tell us:
How does it work?
- Being creative, in whatever form, can increase positive emotions and reduce depressive symptoms and anxiety.
- Further it can improve the function of our immune systems.
The article goes on to quote the journal of positive psychology supporting these findings by stating that: ‘spending time on creative goals during the day is associated with higher activated positive affect.’ By which they mean, people experience positive moods like joy, happiness and optimism. Creative activities can and will help relieve stress/anxiety and reduce feelings of shame, anger and depression following a traumatic event.
What we experience when we’re engaged in our own particular form of creativity is not unlike the experiences gained during meditation, mindfulness and yoga etc.
Creativity can help us – help you – to find calm and contentment in your day-to-day.
So what are you waiting for? There’s surely no excuse not to indulge yourself in fun activities that let you make art, sing your heart out, dance until you drop, or get writing?
If it makes you feel good, feel renewed and feel revitalized – then that’s reason enough. Your mental health will thank you for it.
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Are you the creative type? If so what form does your creativity take? I’d so love to know – contact details here.