Creativity is a defining characteristic of what it means to be human. Our predisposition to ask questions and seek solutions has led to entire civilizations being formed, from the manufacturing of tools to the exploration of undiscovered land. There is no doubt that creativity has significantly contributed to and transformed society as we know it, but how much value does it still hold in our modern lives?
If you have a schedule jam-packed with commitments, you may be thinking there is little time in the day to get creative. Especially now, with our lives tethered to screens, many of us are feeling too overwhelmed with work or school to possibly make room in our planner for fun. But research has shown that having a creative outlet benefits us in numerous ways. One study published by The Journal of Positive Psychology revealed that people who engage in creative endeavors report an increase in positive emotion. The results concluded that engaging in small daily acts of creativity increases our sense of wellbeing and improves positive psychological functioning.
It’s possible to think we are not creative because we do not identify as artists, or do not have an inherent creative talent. But the truth is that creativity, as Steven Kotler writes in Psychology Today, “is not some divine gift, it’s the skilled application of knowledge in new and exciting ways.” Creativity is a skill that, like any other, can be learned, practiced, and improved. It is an act of changing up your normal routine, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and paying attention to the present moment.
There are all types of creative outlets, including cooking, writing, drawing, playing an instrument, knitting, etc. Whatever your outlet may be, creativity benefits all of us and can add great value to our daily lives.
Here are seven ways having a creative outlet can positively impact your life:
1) Creative engagement increases mindfulness
Being creative forces you to be present and focused on the task at hand, resulting in calming effects on the brain and body. Much like meditation, creativity soothes us mentally and teaches us how to block out external stimuli and focus on the inner self.
2) Reduces anxiety and stress
It has been shown that creative engagement can lower blood pressure, helping us feel calm and at peace.
3) Increases happiness
Research has shown that during a creative state, our brain releases chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These chemicals improve our well-being, therefore producing a natural state of joy and contentment.
4) Leads to self-discovery
Creative outlets help us express ourselves. Through the expression of our feelings and experiences, we can make discoveries about ourselves and the way we process the world.
5) Increases self-confidence
Working on a creative task can lead to feelings of accomplishment and pride, making us feel more confident in our abilities.
6) Connects us to others and builds community
Creative outlets can serve as a great way to connect with others, whether it is sharing a meal you just cooked with friends or performing a song you wrote. It can help connect you to a community with like-minded people and increase your sense of belonging.
7) Promotes innovative thinking and problem-solving
Creative hobbies are not just enjoyable in the moment but can also make you more collaborative and creative at work, school, etc. It expands your way of thinking and helps you think outside the box.
No matter your skill level, engaging in an activity that you enjoy will reap positive benefits in your life. With Covid-19 uprooting familiar social behaviors and ways of being in the world, now is a crucial time to engage in activities that offer a sense of connection and an understanding of what it means to be human.
If you have not yet found your creative outlet, perhaps some of these listed in this post can inspire and spark some ideas. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly creative, putting the time in to do something that you enjoy is important mentally and physically. Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite creative outlets are, or which ones you want to start pursuing. We’d love to hear from you!