Although creativity is important, it does not come naturally to everyone. If you are not an artist, musician or an individual who is involved in the creative world, you might wonder why being creative is a vital element in our lives – here are some reasons why:
Being creative can expand our world. So much of our personal and work life is dominated by details. Allowing our thoughts to roam free prevents us from tying ourselves in practical and emotional knots.
Creativity can motivate us. When we are feeling dispirited and low, involving ourselves in a creative activity can lift our spirits and give us a positive nudge in a different direction.
Problem solving abilities can be enhanced. When confronted by problems, it allows us to view the issue from different perspectives. We can problem solve using a tried and tested method. This may do the job but there are possibly more effective solutions that we have not opened our minds to.
Productivity can be increased. A mind that is full of ideas, new ways of thinking and alternative approaches brings a fresh energy to a situation. It not only impacts on yourself but those around you. Innovation and efficiency are positive pluses that productivity brings.
Creativity boosts confidence. There is little doubt that increased powers of productivity, problem solving and addressing challenging tasks will increase anyones confidence. The more we look at ourselves as a capable individual, the more empowered we feel.
Creativity helps clarify our feelings. Our minds can be chaotic with a constant churning of ideas and thoughts. Channelling this world window emotion can be cathartic, be it writing, painting or perhaps knitting. Whilst being creative we tend to be less judgemental about ourselves which in turn creates a more measured view of ourselves and the world.
Expressing ourselves through creativity. As a human right, freedom of expression is hugely important. There are so many avenues to choose from in which to express our emotions and all of them are as significant and impactful as each other.
Being creative can be a personal, group or community based activity. All will contribute to freeing our minds and art clubs can create connections that are valuable and life enhancing.
Creativity can be a huge stress reliever. This is significant because stress can be the cause of a number of physical and mental problems. Such issues can greatly impact our happiness and wellbeing. Bring creative can soothe our souls and promote a feeling of peace.
Creativity can help you live longer. By keeping your mind active you are essentially working out the brain muscle. As with all forms of exercise, this keeps you healthier. The fact that tapping into our creativity relieves stress also helps to extend our life.
Dr Emer MacSweeney, Consultant Neuroradiogist and Medical Director believes ‘Creative activities are a hugely beneficial exercise for our brains and minds, assisting our mental wellbeing and health. Interestingly, different parts of our brain and multiple cognitive processes, both conscious and unconscious, are activated according to the type of creative endeavour undertaken. Cooking, socialising, performing, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, dancing, singing, writing short stories, visiting a museum and participating in group activities are all creative pursuits which are very important for maintaining a healthy brain and mind.
We need to be taken out of our comfort zone and away from regular patterns of behaviour in order to have the opportunity to learn new skills and experience a sense of accomplishment and mastery.
When we are creative, we are forced to unwind, relax and express ourselves in different ways which can bring joy, satisfaction and huge accomplishment. It also provides the opportunity for the “a-ha” moments to happen, when problems can be solved and decisions made through clarity of thought.
Creativity can also be a great coping mechanism when dealing with stress, anxiety, grief and mental health conditions, diverting attention and helping to calm the nervous system.
This too can have lasting benefits to our health.
Music has been shown to be particularly powerful in helping to improve cognitive function and improves the connectivity between the left and right sides of the brain. Playing a musical instrument builds confidence, relieves stress, fosters creativity and gives a sense of achievement and satisfaction – all of which, in turn, help keep the brain young and active, helping to reduce the risk of dementia.
Studies have shown that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced by exercises such as dancing. Not only is it fun, social and engaging but it’s a great way of incorporating exercise into the weekly routine. Learning and remembering new steps activates many neural pathways in the brain, keeping it strong, active and healthy. It provides good blood flow to the brain and is also thought to encourage brain cell growth and survival, so essential in helping protect against developing dementia.
Whether learning to tango or mastering the mandolin, there are countless creative pursuits that provide many powerful benefits to brain health.
Grace Holliday is the Artist in Residence at Loveday & Co
Grace states ‘Across all projects that I design and deliver, I use creativity as a type of invitation tailored to the individual. Not limited to the visual arts alone, the creativity running through each project opens up a series of sensory experiences that operate on different levels of perception and interpretation.
Across a period of time the power creativity holds has manifested in the individual personalities of the people I work with on a weekly basis. This has grown and moulded creative power into something meaningful and totally unique, and has really started to form a sense of artistic identity. A gradual process that has seen participants of my workshops emerge as something anew – now confident makers, curators, colour coordinators or artistic narrators for example. It is not one size fits all. The power of creativity has to involve choice and allow for a feeling of ownership and insight, especially when this can feel like it is being taken away in other areas of life. How this is expressed can be limitless and completely freeing in that moment.’
Dr Emer MacSweeney, Consultant Neuroradiologist and Medical
Director at Re:Cognition Health www.recognitionhealth.com
Grace Holliday, Artist in Residence at Loveday www.lovedayandco.com