Saturday, November 28, 2015

Health and Creativity

Trout Stream. Watercolor, pen and ink

The health benefits of creativity are well known, and established in both the medical and mental health fields. While art and music are often promoted and encouraged in preschool, and kindergarten classes, as a healthy and necessary part of child development, people are frequently discouraged from taking up creative activities as teens and adults.

Sentiments abound on how creative arts are a waste of time, selfish pursuits, or things that will make us poor. In some extremes, there is even a fear that a creative pursuit will turn you into a delinquent, encourage you to drop out of school, quit your job, and ruin your life. Many grow up under the impression that only special people, with special talents, can be creative, and are told they aren't good enough, that they don't have "it". The common theme between these harmful assumptions, is a viewpoint born of materialism, where everything is seen through a lens of profit, judged only by sell-ability and the potential for monetary gain.

It is time for a change of mind. What if we all grew up to view a creative pursuit as a healthy habit, no different from exercise or eating nutritious food? What if you were encouraged to do it for your health? Here are a few of the documented health benefits:
  • Lowers stress
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Relieves anxiety
  • Prevents burnout
  • Enhances esteem and self-confidence
  • Raises levels of neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Increases feelings of well being 
  • Feelings of self improvement and self development
  • Improves problem solving skills
A creative pursuit can even make you better at your job! The best part is, it's fun, and it doesn't require much time (even 10 minutes is good for you). There are a multitude of creative pursuits, and while some of them do require time and money, many don't. You can buy a pen and a pad of paper for $2 at your local dollar store. That's the about the cheapest therapy there is! 

Trees, sketch, pen and ink