The Relation between Creativity and Wellness

“Creativity” is not an inherent quality that someone is born with. It’s actually a skill that people can develop over time with practice and it’s no doubt, it brings plenty of health benefits for practicing so in your daily life. As Cathy Malchiodi states, “making art… maybe as important to your health as balanced nutrition, regular exercise, or meditation”.

An article on Creativity by Business News Daily interviews with Tina Seelig, the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. She says, “We are all naturally creative and like every other skill, some people have more natural talent than others. However, everyone can increase his or her [or their] creativity, just as everyone can increase his or her [or their] musical or athletic ability, with appropriate training and focused practice.” Creativity isn’t something you are, it’s a habit—and for good reason. “The biggest myth about creativity is that it isn’t important and that it can’t be learned. In fact, it is one of the most important skills we can master,” Seelig explained.

In layman terms, Creativity is a wellness practice and there are numerous reasons to make it part of your wellness resolutions. There are quite many scientific reasons behind the benefits of consciously practicing creativity in your daily life through art, music, reading, writing, crafts, coloring, knitting, sewing, pottery, gardening, or dancing. Creative expression can:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Increase positive emotions
  • Decrease depressive symptoms
  • Reduce distress and negative emotions
  • Boost the immune system
  • Increase self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment
  • Improve concentration and focus
  • Increase happiness”
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Creativity Strengthens Your Brain

We know for a fact, our brain is divided into 2 hemispheres –  the left performs logic-based tasks while the right focuses on art and creativity. A 2014 review study found that certain activities that we consider creative, like learning to play a musical instrument actually increases the connection between the two sides of the brain. The existing literature tends to support the hypothesis that musical training can induce changes in cross-hemispheric connections, with significant differences frequently reported in various regions of the corpus callosum of musicians compared with non-musicians.

Creativity Leads to Optimism and Solutions-Focused Thinking

Another 2014 Article talks about Effects of Optimism on creativity. Focusing on avoiding failure or negative outcomes can undermine creativity, due to cognitive (e.g., threat appraisals), affective (e.g., anxiety), and volitional processes (e.g., low intrinsic motivation). This can be problematic for people who are avoidance motivated by nature and in situations in which threats or potential losses are salient. Optimism positively impacts each of the problematic processes evoked by avoidance motivation, and should thus reduce the undermining effect on creativity. 

Also, “With enhanced creativity,” Seelig said, “instead of problems we see potential, instead of obstacles we see opportunities, and instead of challenges we see a chance to create solutions.”

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said during his seminal TED talk in 2004, “When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”

It is in every individual’s fully capability to actually “create” and this is where we begin to live more fully, experience transformation, and recover the core of what it means to heal. It is the authentic expression through art making, music, song, movement, writing, and other forms of arts-based imagination that are central to the equation of why creativity is a wellness practice. So go, take your chances and adapt a creative mindset and be well.

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Creativity is the missing piece in the wellness puzzle. For too long, creativity hasn’t had a look-in. But it’s the key to feeling fully-expressed so that you can truly be yourself and live the life you were destined to live.

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