It’s about time that science debunks the common myth that only the artistically- inclined benefit from expressions of creativity.
According to a University of Otago study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, the secret for anyone to achieve a happier state of mind is to do just one creative thing each day. Psychologists came to this conclusion after conducting a 13-day study on 658 volunteers, who each kept a daily diary to describe their moods and rate how creative they had been over the course of the day. For the purpose of the study, creativity was defined as “coming up with novel or original ideas; expressing oneself in an original and useful way; or spending time doing artistic activities.”
Participants in the study were asked to fill out the “flourishing scale” with each diary entry, which asked them to rank their responses to statements like “Today I was interested and engaged in my daily activities,” and “Today my social relationships were supportive and rewarding.” This scale helped researchers determine that with heightened creative action, participants generally felt more excited and energetic. Overall, the researchers concluded that “finding ways to encourage everyday creative activities, not just master works of art, could lead directly to increased well-being.”
Below are some simple ways for anyone to add a little more creativity into their lives.
Try a class
Tai chi, ballroom dancing, sculpting – why not give it a shot? Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but it can also have a huge pay-off. You just might find that this new activity is a great stress-buster or that it gives you a huge confidence boost. Almost every community offers a variety of adult education courses that are taught at the beginner level. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Doodle something, anything
Everyone has fallen in love with the adult coloring book trend, but imagine how much more fun it would be to color in a fun design that you had created yourself. Forget everything your elementary school teacher told you about daydreams and doodles – they are not a waste of time. In fact, time and time again, it has been proven that doodling helps generate ideas, keep a person engaged with their surrounding environment and increase productivity. So during your next work meeting, let your mind drift just enough to doodle a small design in the margins of your notebook. You won’t be disappointed with the outcome of taking a few minutes for yourself.
It doesn’t matter what you make or how you go about making it. The simple act of gathering supplies and sitting down to create something new is one of the purest forms of creativity and self- expression. Whether you chose to recycle an old glass bottle into a new vase or to spruce up a piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint, nothing is more satisfying than admiring something you made with your own two hands.