Being Creative Once a Day Can Make You Happier

Let’s be honest: not all of us are talented (at least when classic art is concerned). While you may not be another Rembrandt, you still can benefit from being creative – even if it’s just drawing weird dinosaurs on napkins in a café. Researchers say, even one creative session per day is capable of making you happier!

Image credit: reeducados.cl

Ready, steady, create!

Most of us are too busy (or lazy?) to do something creative. We forget how to paint once we turn fifteen and prefer surfing social media instead of stretching our creative muscles. However, it appears that we’d better take that old set of color pencils out of the dusty chest in the attic.

A recent research showed that being creative at least once a day can make you feel happier. It does not matter what exactly you want to do: it can be painting, dancing, writing, singing, even gardening – there are so many things to do that anyone can find a creative activity to his or her liking.

A team from the University of Otago discovered that being creative affects mood even the following day. It has long been known that mood affects the results of being creative, and the researchers wanted to find out whether it works the other way, e.g. does doing something in an artistic way contribute to happiness level increase. The answer is yes.

What did the study reveal?

To study whether there is a link between creativity and emotions, the investigators asked 658 adults to document how often they do creative things using a diary and rate their mood, as well as note all positive and negative changes in emotions they experienced. The experiment lasted 13 days.

When the researchers analyzed the records, they saw that increase in joy, enthusiasm and happiness correlated with daily creative activities. The effect was a spiral one: the wellbeing level and creativity steadily increased in those who did something artistic at least once a day, no matter what it was. The effect was persistent and affected the participants’ mood even the following day, suggesting that a daily dosage of creativity does not necessarily need to be high.

Besides, the team revealed another way creative action contributes to wellbeing. They called this part of the experiment “a flourishing scale”. The participants were asked to rank to what extent they agreed with statements about their relationships and productivity today, like in “Today I was active and interested in my work”. According to them, the results suggest that creativity also helps keep yourself engaged, socially active and friendly.

Just Do It

Despite the revealed links, researchers say that there is no correlation between mood and the likelihood of being creative on a particular day. However, as emotions affect creativity, and creativity affects emotions, there can be a chain reaction: if you do something creative today, you are likely to feel better today and tomorrow, which means it will be easier for you to get to painting/writing/whatever the following day.

So just stop being lazy. Sing, write, design, draw, decorate, knit, construct – the range of activities available is so impressive that anyone can find a creative hobby that would help you increase your level of happiness and wellbeing.

It does not necessarily need to be something monumental. Are you going to cook pancakes? Think about what curious shapes there can be, what decorations would fit, and what unusual recipes there are. Even this will be enough for the time being – you will get back to cooking tomorrow, with new ideas to implement, and by doing so you can make yourself happier. We’re all created to create, after all!

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