Did you know that creativity can contribute to your well-being?
It’s about more than music therapy or keeping arts in the schools. As a “grown-up,” creativity may seem like the last thing we have time or interest in. But research has shown a strong link between creativity and improved mental and physical health. As Amanda Enayati writes here, “Creating helps make people happier, less anxious, more resilient and better equipped to problem-solve in the face of hardship.” Creativity is the flip side to our stressed-out, overworked selves. Creativity is release. Creativity gives us purpose and fulfillment. Creativity can lead to “unconventional” choices, such as making less money and changing priorities to make room for our passions.
You may also be surprised to know that “activities that tap self-awareness and creativity – such as dance, art, sleep, meditation, hobbies and play – can have a positive impact on problem-solving and other research practices,” according to research out of Cornell. We’re used to thinking of science as opposed to art, but contemplation practices can improve not only professional artists but also the work of biomedical researchers. The contemplative practices that are included in “The Tree of Contemplative Practice” can improve flexibility and adaptability, facilitate a state of calm, broaden perspectives, explore values, decrease emotional drama, improve self-regulation, and aid in problem-solving.
Imagine that. Creativity isn’t necessarily an attribute you’re born with. It can be cultivated through contemplative practices of stillness, creativity, production, relationships, rituals, and activism.
What contemplative practices have you tried? How have you made room for creative pursuits in your life?