Is Creativity Important?- Why Creativity is the Secret Key for Optimal Health
When was the last time you felt creative? Maybe back when you were a little kid playing with sand at your favourite park? If you look up “creativity” in a dictionary, you will see “being able to create new ideas or products,” and this definition often stops us from being creative.
But why is creativity important anyway?
Well, creativity not only has the power to make your day more exciting, but creativity can also promote your health.
What!? – I can get healthy by being creative?
YES! The thing is, health is not just about eating well and exercising regularly. There are a number of factors contributing to your health, and creativity is one of them.
Are you curious about how you can feel connected with yourself, find what you truly want to do in your life, and become healthy?
That’s the spirit!
We will look into the health benefits of creativity and 10 ideas to spark creativity so that you can start being creative in your OWN WAY!
Ready to go?
Let’s do it!
What is creativity?
When you think about creativity, what’s on your mind?
Maybe you think of creating something new or coming up with novel ideas. Maybe you feel like creativity is only for unique individuals, like artists.
NO! Everyone can be creative! Then, what’s creativity, really?
If we look again at the meaning of creativity, we find “the ability to create something new,” and that is a little intimidating. You might think, “I can’t do that every day, so I’m not a creative person!”.
Do you know the definition of “everyday creativity“?
It’s a definition created by Ruth Richards at Harvard Medical School, and she explains “everyday creativity” as:
“Everyday creativity is…fundamental to our very survival. With our everyday creativity, we adapt flexibly, we improvise, we try different options, whether we are raising a child, counseling a friend, fixing our home, or planning a fundraising event.”
Still not sure what “everyday creativity” means? It can be as simple as trying new makeup or taking a different route to work!
So YES, everyone can be creative, and we don’t need to be artists to do that! Isn’t it good news!?
Do you want to look into why your health can benefit from creativity?
YES!!! – Okay! Let’s do this!
Why is creativity important for health?
It may be uncommon to connect creativity with health. I never thought about it until I started learning about the holistic approach to health at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I’m training to be a health coach.
What’s on your mind when you think about health?
Exercise? Eating well?
Surprisingly, health is more than eating well and exercising regularly. The founder of my health coaching school says health consists of
- A Fulfilling Career
- Financial Health
- Home Cooking
- Home Environment
- Social life
- Physical activity
Those 11 categories are called “Primary food” and in this line of thinking, food is actually considered “Secondary food”. What does this mean?
Well, you can eat all kinds of healthy foods, but if you have a super stressful job that you hate, or are in an unhappy relationship, healthy foods may not help your health as much as you wish.
Makes sense, right?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the all things you can do to change your health.
The thing is, you ALREADY know what’s good for your health, but you may not be aware of it. So what you CAN do is exercise your awareness muscles for health, and I’m here to support you ☺️
Remember. You’re the master of your health, not your doctor.
So let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of creativity together!
The health benefits of creativity
1. May solve loneliness
When we become adults, it gets harder to make new friends. But, strangely enough, isn’t it easier to make new friends who share common interests?
For me, I feel creative with blogging, cooking, gardening, and meditation. Moreover, my creative activities help me connect with people even during pandemic times.
What is the reason to pay attention to loneliness?
The thing is, loneliness might be just as bad as smoking cigarettes for your health!
loneliness, social isolation, or both were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart attack and 32% greater risk of stroke. The risk was similar to that of light smoking or obesity, according to the researchers.
Also, Harvard Public School of Health says loneliness is linked to a weakened immune system and higher blood pressure.
But how can we avoid feeling lonely during challenging times?
Well, being together in the same room doesn’t automatically solve loneliness. We may be missing hugs, but that doesn’t stop us from connecting with people.
The most important thing is whether you feel truly connected with people or not.
I’m telling you that I used to feel really lonely a couple of months ago. However, I started to connect with like-minded people online, and now I don’t feel lonely at all!
So, from my personal experience, I can say that creativity can help you connect with new people, or strengthen the relationship with friends and family!
2. Alleviate stress and boost immune system
Have you ever noticed when you are focused on your hobby, your worries are gone?
A psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this state a “flow state.”
What is a “flow state”?
Csikszentmihalyi explains “flow state” as:
“[…] sense of time disappears, you forget yourself, you feel part of something larger. And once the conditions are present, what you are doing becomes worth doing for its own sake.”
When you are in a “flow state”, you feel relaxed because the levels of stress hormone decrease!
As a result, even your blood pressure decreases.
Of course, stress can have a big impact on your health. Stress can:
- Increase the chances of developing chronic pain
- Lead to heart problems
- Affect your bowels
- Weaken your immune system
- Lead you to weight gain
So, if you are not ready to change your stressful job right away or get out of an unhappy relationship, you want to make sure you spend some time being creative!
What’s more, when you feel relaxed, your body can heal from the harm caused by stress.
Isn’t it great!?
That’s not it.
When your body is relaxed, you can increase your immune system strength and decrease levels of inflammation!
3. Prevents disease
Did you know practicing creativity can decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia at an early age?
Alzheimer’s and dementia are common diseases for older people. Dementia affects people’s memory, and Alzheimer’s impairs your memory and brain’s cognitive function.
My grandfather and grandmother developed dementia when they were close to death, and it was very difficult to go through that as a family.
So how can being creative prevent us from getting dementia or Alzheimer’s?
According to a study published by the American Academy of Neurology, researchers found that people who spend time on creative activities including painting, drawing, sculpting are 73% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems.
Also, this study says if you engage in activities such as sewing, woodworking, and ceramics, you will be 45% less likely to encounter cognitive problems!
So, it may be wise to find your favorite creative activities while you are young and then look forward to a healthy and vibrant life in your 80s and even 90s!
How to increase creativity
So here is the question.
How can you increase creativity without becoming an artist or musician?
The thing is, you can create your own unique moment, and that can be creative too!
If you have no idea where you can start to be creative, or you are not into art, I can share some ideas for you to spark your creativity.
10 unconventional ideas for creativity (non-painting options)
- Walk around your neighborhood for 10 minutes as if you are exploring it for the first time. Maybe you can try this 5-minute or 15-minute walking meditation!
- Grow herbs or vegetables in the kitchen or patio! Enjoy growing them and harvesting them.
- Try a new recipe with ingredients you’ve never used. Really savor the flavor and the aesthetic of the food you cooked.
- Try 10 minutes of intention meditation and feel connected with yourself. Maybe you will find what you truly want to do in life.
(I recommend you try not to judge yourself when you are distracted by your thoughts during meditation. When you are distracted, say “noted” to your thoughts, and carry on with your meditation).
- Try yoga and feel connected with your body. Pay attention to the muscle that is being stretched. (I like this yoga channel. Tons of easy yoga stretches)
- Have quality sleep. Sleep has the power to combine ideas while you are awake and create something new.
- Sip your morning coffee as if it’s your first time trying coffee. Maybe you can try this 5-minute coffee meditation.
- Learn something new – maybe learn something from the masters on MasterClass? (I took a meditation class from Jon Kabat-Zinn, and it completely changed how I see mindfulness )
- Wash your dishes mindfully. Try this washing dishes meditation.
- Meditate with your pets!