How honing your creativity can help boost your mental health
Updated: May 28
Imagine this; you are stranded on an island with no tools at your disposal. What will you do to get someone’s attention to get out of this situation?
If you already started thinking of solutions, then you’re creative thinking is at play. Creativity is our ability to come up with new ideas or make something using imagination (Cambridge Dictionary, 2020). Creativity, while commonly is associated with artistic pursuits or groundbreaking ideas, in effect, serves us on an everyday basis when we come up with innovative workarounds to solve a problem.
Human beings are a unique species, as they inherently possess the creative ability. While there may be some truth that some are more creative than others, we can hone our ability to be more creative, at any age. Research suggests that engaging in any creative activity even once a day can positively boost our mental health (Tamlin, Conner, DeYoung & Paul, 2016). While it is important to remember that creative activities need not be limited to artistic activities, there is increasing evidence that connecting to creativity through art provides mental health benefits by serving as a protective factor by improving our coping skills. The studies also reveal that participating in art activities increases our psychosocial ability and promotes learning(Griffiths, 2003). Furthermore, some studies suggest that engaging in creative activities helps build a new neural pathway, which in turn plays a crucial role in developing divergent thinking.
So how do we transfer this knowledge and put it in practice? We can do so by consciously investing our time and effort in pursuing a creative activity on a regular basis. Whether it is dancing to an old tune, learning to play an instrument, writing poetry, knitting a sweater, sketching, drawing, painting or sculpting. Make a conscious decision today to nurture and connect to your creativity to boost your mental health.
Gillam, T. (2018). Creativity, Wellbeing and Mental Health Practice (1st ed. 2018.).
Griffiths, S. (2003). Arts and creativity: A mental health promotion tool for young African and Caribbean men. Mental Health Review, 8(3), 26–30.
Sawyer, R. K. (2012). Explaining creativity: The science of human innovation (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tamlin S. Conner, Colin G. DeYoung & Paul J. Silvia (November, 2016): Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing, The Journal of Positive Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2016.1257049. To download a copy of this article for a limited time from the publisher: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1257049