Engaging in creative pursuits can bring a wide range of benefits to our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Of particular note in the list below is the emphasis on working with others. Here are some of the ways in which creative activities are said to enhance our lives:
- Reducing stress: Creative activities such as painting, drawing, writing, or playing music can help us to relax and unwind. They allow us to focus our attention on the task at hand and let go of our worries and anxieties. Even those who often work alone – solo artist/musician/crafter/author – can find shared creative expression leads to both ‘solutions’ and less stress.
- Boosting self-esteem: Creating something new and unique can give us a sense of accomplishment and boost our self-confidence. This can be especially true for those who may not have a lot of confidence in their artistic abilities. I have seen this in workshops where creatives who begin cautious and shy can gradually trust themselves and the support of others. Enjoying the fruits of our labor and sharing them with others can help us to feel validated.
- Expanding self-expression: Creative pursuits can be more than single artistic self-expression, allowing us to experiment with other mediums. Writing, drawing, or playing music can help us to explore our emotions in other fields, while classes, courses and workshops with others help us discover more about ourselves, especially when sharing our processes with others.
- Improving problem-solving skills: Creative activities often involve problem-solving, whether it’s trying to figure out how to make a piece of art work or coming up with a melody for a new song. Working with others helped me many times over the years to both exercise problem-solving muscles and appreciate solving challenges in new and innovative ways.
- Fostering connections with others: Many creative pursuits can be done in groups, whether it’s attending a painting class or playing in a band. Participating in activities in my wider community has helped me meet new people, build friendships, and feel a sense of belonging.
- Enhancing cognitive function: Research has shown that engaging in creative activities can help to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Creative pursuits often require us to use multiple areas of the brain at once, which can help to strengthen neural connections and, it’s said, to build new connections as we explore the limitless opportunities in a creative lifestyle, and creative community.
Creative activities can help us to relax, express ourselves, build confidence, and connect with others. So, the next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, consider picking up a creative hobby – your brain (and your mood) will thank you for it!