What makes people happy?
Lots of people. Lots of answers. But there’s a common thread that’s rarely discussed: Creativity.
In a study of college students, “people who reported feeling happy and active were more likely to be doing something creative at the time,” state researchers at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
The good news is that whether you’re a late-night crafter or professional musician, the end-result was irrelevant. Creative people aren’t happier because they are producing something they get credit for. It’s the creative process that impacts overall happiness.
As the study states, “Engaging in creative pursuits allows people to explore their identities, form new relationships, cultivate competence, and reflect critically on the world. In turn, the new knowledge, self-insight, and relationships serve as sources of strength and resilience.”
So how do you use this to your advantage?
Inject Happiness Through Creativity:
- Find creativity in the mundane. Not everything in life is creative, but it can be! What are ways you can add a dash of flavor to your life? How about experimenting in the kitchen? Trying a new activity instead of the traditional workout? I remember when I would swim for exercise. My friend and I would try to create new strokes and name them. Some of my personal favorites include “Henrietta the Clucker” (a backstroke & chicken dance hybrid) and "One-eyed Jimbo" (I’m not even going to try to describe that, but it involved winking the entire time) That may seem ridiculous, and it is, but it got me excited to swim so it did the trick!
- Hone your skill. Often we tell ourselves, “I’m not performing/sharing what I create, so there’s no real need to do it right now.” Or if you’re stopping yourself from writing that song or short story for fear you’ll fall short of perfection, relax! No matter what you create, doing something creative contributes to your psychological growth. And, as an aside, you’re probably better than you think.
- Make it memorable. I get it. Sometimes practicing can be frustrating. I don't always love the sounds that come out when I sing. But what if you shifted your mentality? What if you stopped calling it “practicing” and made it an “experience?” Call it a mini-performance, a romantic endeavor, or simply a self-love experience. Add some joy, light a candle, whatever it takes to make it memorable and meaningful. Your happiness will increase as will your skill.
Try these 3 tips and watch your happiness, creative spirit, and skill sore!
What do you do to embrace your creative spirit? Share your story in the Comments section below!