As we get older, we often find ourselves consumed with serious thoughts that leave little room for playfulness and creativity. Inviting time for creativity shouldn’t just be a nice to have in your life, it should be a priority.
Creativity can improve your overall health and has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as lessen the shame, anger, and depression felt by those who have experienced trauma.
Here are some examples of the benefits of making time for creativity:
Experience increased happiness.
You’ve probably heard of, or experienced, ‘flow’ or ‘being in the zone’ – the state of being completely absorbed into something that you lose track of time itself. This state is known to reduce anxiety, slow the heart rate down and boost your mood. Especially when the activity that you are engaging with leads to some sort of result – for example, knitting or drawing. Regardless of the result, once it is achieved, it releases dopamine – the feel good chemical that helps to keep you motivated.
Boosts brain and cognitive function.
Creative engagement activates different senses – it can even help people who are living with dementia. Studies also show that people who play instruments have better connectivity between their left and right brains.
Improves mental health.
Besides feelings of joy and relaxation, creativity can be used as a way to treat individuals who have experienced trauma. There are art therapy programs available for soldiers with PTSD who often find it difficult to express their trauma verbally.
Introducing more creativity into your life – especially if you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person – can be daunting at first, but find what works best for you. Here are some of our tips:
- Draw or paint. If you are not comfortable with free-hand drawing, there is a variety of adult colouring in books available at the book store or health shops.
- Sing – and if you don’t enjoy singing, simply play some music.
- Once you have your music blasting, dance like nobody is watching. Not only is dancing a great way to boost your mood, it is a really effective and enjoyable way to incorporate some exercise into your day.
- Get in nature. Whether that means tending to your garden or grabbing your hiking boots, being in nature is a great way to clear your mind and become more curious about the environment around you.