What’s the ﬁrst thing you think of when you hear that word? Maybe you think of creating artwork, writing a song or working on a craft? That’s where my mind usually goes. For some of us, being creative or ‘artsy’ doesn’t come as easy as it does for others. Being creative though, isn’t limited to to an artistic expression. It can be solving a problem in a new way, daydreaming, building something with your hands, trying a new recipe for dinner or let yourself be bored.
Most of us have been taught that the right side of our brain is largely responsible for creativity while the left side is more structured and analytical. Researchers have discovered that there is no single part of the brain that is responsible for a person’s creativity. It’s actually a series of neurological systems interacting with one another that gets the creative juices ﬂowing.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~ Maya Angelou
Some of the beneﬁts of being creative are:
1. Increased dopamine – You’ve probably heard of ﬂow — it’s the state you get in when you’re completely absorbed in something. Have you ever been working on a project and completely lost all sense of self and time? That’s ﬂow. It reduces anxiety, boosts your mood, and even slows your heart rate.
2. Reduces dementia – Creativity goes beyond just making you happy. It’s also an effective treatment for patients with dementia. Studies show that creative engagement not only reduces depression and isolation, but can also help people with dementia tap back in to their personalities and sharpen their senses.
3. Improves mental health – Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress. And it can also help you process trauma. Studies have found that writing helps people manage their negative emotions in a productive way, and painting or drawing helps people express trauma or experiences that they ﬁnd too difﬁcult to put in to words.
4. Boosts your immune system – It’s time to start taking journaling seriously. Studies show people who write about their experiences daily actually have stronger immune system function. Although experts are still unsure how it works, writing increases your CD4+ lymphocyte count, the key to your immune system. Listening to music can also rejuvenate function in your immune system.