When was the last time you were creative? Whether it’s writing, baking, gardening, painting or playing music – creative pursuits are therapy for your mind.
Here are five reasons you need to tap into your creative side.
A study in published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, found that just 45 minutes of engaging in a creative project significantly reduces stress in the body. What you create doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy either, as it’s the act of being absorbed in the creative project that reduces stress, regardless of the outcome.
The Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel reports there is growing evidence suggesting stress may contribute to cardiovascular disease (although this link remains controversial and research is ongoing), high blood pressure, proneness to infection and chronic fatigue.
Decreases Age-Related Brain Degeneration
In an ABC News report, Adelaide neurologist Dr. James Leyden states that creative pursuits are better at warding off dementia than brain-training apps.
Dr. Leyden said studies showed that creative pursuits protect people against dementia, improved the rehabilitation of stroke victims and soothed the symptoms of people with Parkinson’s disease.
Further, research by the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging found that people engaged in artistic pursuits were 70 per cent less likely to develop dementia.
Boosts Your Social Life
The social health benefits of having a hobby have long been documented. Those engaged in a hobby are more likely to have wider social circles, a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging. As such, creative pursuits reduce social isolation. So, join a club, society or group based on your own creative interests.
Improves Your Mood
One of the benefits of creativity is falling into a state of flow – a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . In positive psychology, flow – also known as ‘the zone’ – is the mental state of being completely absorbed by an activity and experiencing energised focus. This often results in loss of one’s sense of space and time. Flow is especially beneficial for people with depression or anxiety, as engaging creative pursuits can improve mood.
Boosts Self-Esteem & Concentration
Using our creative mind to create art, craft, music, food, poetry or creative writing gives us a sense of accomplishment that makes us feel good about ourselves. Our brains release the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine, which boosts drive, focus and concentration.
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising, eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep – these five mental and emotional benefits will protect your brain now and in the future.
Hopefully you’re inspired to write that book, create that painting or come up with a unique recipe to bake and decorate those delicious cupcakes!