5 Ways Creativity Boosts Your Health

CREATIVITY BOOSTS YOUR HEALTH - Food, Mood & Gratitude Journal Cover Art

Did you know creativity actually boosts your health? Even if you don’t think of yourself as a “creative” person, chances are that you actually do some pretty creative things. Maybe you’re thinking “I can’t draw, play music, dance, write, or sing!”

As a holistic health coach, I work on all aspects of wellness which include creativity. And something that comes up pretty regularly with my clients is many of them think they aren’t creative. While we may tend to think of “creativity” as creating or crafting ART, it is so much more than that. And since studies have shown creativity boosts your health, it’s important to get your creative juices flowing.

You’re More Creative Than You Might Realize

Do you like to garden or cook? You’re planning what plants to put where, or what dishes to serve together for a meal, which takes creativity! Do you like to have a neat, orderly desk with everything in its place? Are you always searching for the perfect pair of shoes or accessories to complement a particular outfit? Maybe you’re looking for the perfect throw pillows to jazz up your living room couch? All of that takes imagination and creativity to come up with ideas of what you’re looking for and where to put it. So how exactly does creativity boost your health?

Creativity has been a part of human existence and evolution for over 200,000 years. And that creativity is one thing that sets us apart from other animals. Creativity helped our ancestors to create tools and build shelters, use fire to cook food, and to create herbal medicines from plants. Humans likely wouldn’t have survived as a species without creativity.

How Creativity Boosts Your Health

  1. Creativity Increases Happiness
    When you’re doing something you enjoy, from cooking, gardening, and knitting, to singing in the shower or in your car, you’re boosting your serotonin, your happiness neurotransmitters, making you feel happy and joyful all over.(1)
  2. Creativity Boosts Your Immune System
    This boost of serotonin floods your body with good feelings, which boosts your immune system in the process. Even something like playing a game with a strategy like chess or cards takes a creative thought process. You have to be able to visualize what options your opponent might have and what they might be thinking in order to make your next move or play your next card. So get your creativity on during cold and flu season and help boost your immune system.(2)
  3. Creativity Boosts Your Mental Health
    When you’re immersed in some type of creativity that you enjoy, time seems to fly by, right? When you’re enjoying something so much you lose track of time, that’s actually considered a type of meditation. Getting “lost” in your creative thoughts about organizing your desk, rearranging your living room furniture, planning a party, or doodling on a scratch pad while you’re on the phone… all of these things help calm your brain and nervous system. They also give you a boost of dopamine (another happiness neurotransmitter) which helps you to feel good, and shake off the blahs or blues.(3)
  4. Creativity Improves Brain Function
  5. When you’re engaging in something creative like playing music, writing, doodling, or coloring (there are LOTS of great adult coloring books on the market these days!) that creativity increases the connectivity between the left and right hemispheres of your brain, making you smarter.(4)

  6. Creativity Helps Reduce Dementia
    That same connectivity between the left and right hemispheres of your brain also increases overall brain function which can help to stave off dementia. And with dementia patients, creative activities like painting, drawing, or art projects can help them tap back in to their personalities and sharpen their senses.(5)

Embrace Your Inner Creativity to Boost Your Health

Even today, creativity is responsible for all of our engineering feats of modern technology. From radio, TV, cars, airplanes and putting a man on the moon, to the ability to carry a mini-computer in our hands and face-time our friends and family, none of these would be possible without creativity.

As you can see, even if you don’t think of yourself as a “creative person”, you probably do lots of creative things throughout the day. So embrace your inner creativity to boost your health.

I’ve always loved to doodle and color, but I never thought I was very good at drawing. However, after taking some FUN doodling classes that broke it all down to basic shapes, I created the above art as the cover for my new book, Food, Mood, & Gratitude Journal. And I’ve gotta say, it gave me a BIG boost of serotonin and dopamine! 😀 Please leave a comment to let us know what types of creativity you like to engage in?

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Resources:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/creative-thinking-and-the-brain
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804629/
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400419009534351
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hbm.22849
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16439826

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