Benefits of Having a Creative Outlet
Benefits of Having a Creative Outlet
By Christine H.
Are you the type of person who likes to take time for watercolors? Perhaps you write your own songs on the guitar? Or you like to experiment with new baking recipes?
If you’re not someone who has a cherished creative outlet, why not? There are many of us who believe that we are simply not “creative” types, but that’s not true. A basic part of being human is having the ability and desire to create. That creativity can take many forms, but over and over again studies have found that people with creative outlets are happier, healthier, and feel more fulfilled. Here are some of the pivotal benefits of having a creative outlet:
Good for Your Body
This may be a surprising benefit of creative work. After all, it seems obvious that it can positively impact our mental health. But physical? It’s true. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, creative projects can actually relieve the stresses of chronic disease. Patients recovering from surgery and trauma were found to physically recover faster when they were given special time for art or writing. So, looking for a way to be healthy and counter disease? Pick up a paintbrush!
Helps You Communicate Effectively
You might be a top-notch chatterer. However, when it comes to the heavy topics that plague our hearts and minds, small talk just won’t do the trick. Throughout history, people have found refuge in art, discovering it as a place to discuss the “big” questions, a place to reveal our deepest selves, and find others who share our struggles. Often, we find that a simple dialogue can’t say all that a poem, a dance, or a photograph can. It’s why we use art to try to express ourselves to a lover, and it’s why top institutions utilize experiential therapy to help patients recover from mental health challenges like trauma or addiction.
There’s another way that the arts can help us to communicate better. Sharing art and communication builds communities and companionship between disparate groups who find they have a common core. Finding your creative outlet can be a great way to meet new people and find others who share your concerns and passions.
Better for Your Brain
Over and over again, studies have found that children who are engaged in learning music also perform better in subjects like math and logical thinking. This is one of many reasons that so many of us fight so passionately to keep arts programs in school. Time spent on creative pursuits helps you to build memory, make essential connections between different parts of your brain, and keep focus.
Achieve Creative Flow
This is something that could be bundled into the brain benefits of creativity, but I think that it deserves its own section. Have you ever just been completely lost in a creative project? It’s the kind of feeling where you don’t even notice time passing, and after working for a while, you come away feeling rejuvenated and excited? Many specialists call this state of mind “flow” and it’s an amazing achievement of the brain. It’s the same feeling that Buddhists monks strive for as they meditate, and it has amazing powers to enrich your life. “Flow” spurs creative problem-solving, staves off stress and depression, and helps our brains stay healthy.
Gives You Power and Self-Esteem
With the advent of the “assembly line” in modern history, many social researchers found that there was a shift in working conditions. True, production time was greatly decreased, and factories were able to put out unprecedented numbers of cars. However, worker morale greatly dropped. There’s a big difference between being just one part of a machine, and seeing something through from beginning to end. Feeling connected to work that we make with our own hands gives us a feeling of ownership and responsibility. We love to see the end product of something and know that it’s something that we ourselves created. Surprisingly, one of our basic human needs is to give!
Let’s Get Started!
Convinced yet? Well, it’s time to go find that paint set in the back of the closet, or brush off your novel that you’ve wanted to write for a decade or more. Not sure what your creative outlet should be? Try some of these ideas to get started:
Join a community class.
Get personal lessons so you can really hone your talent and have accountability.
Set a deadline for a creative project and have someone else check in on you.
Schedule time every week for it--and don’t compromise!
Try something new with a friend. Ask them what they like to do, and then join them for a day or two.