The Power of Creativity
For those of you who have tried adult coloring, have you noticed that it not only helps you meditate, but it also gives you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment when you finish a piece?
Creativity has the power to enhance mental and even physical health.
Visual art alone can increase positive thinking and emotions, reduce depression, reduce stress and anxiety, improve spontaneity, increase positive identity, better expression of grief, improve social networking, improve the immune system, and impact actual cells inside the human body.
Creativity can be expressed through music, visual art, performance, writing, building, crafting, sewing, cooking, coding, and pretty much anything else that you can think of that produces something enjoyable to you.
My husband loves to cook. Another time I’ll write a post about what it’s like to live with a food enthusiast, and how that’s rubbed off on me. But for now, I want to focus on how cooking improves my husband’s mental health.
When my husband has a good project to work ok, whether it be a normal dinner or a special event, his mind begins to produce imaginings of tastes, textures, and smells. Soon those things come together into a sensory image of a final product. As he forms this image, he excitedly brainstorms aloud ingredients, processes, and spices. The joy he gets from planning a food project is tangible, and contagious!
As he cooks, he becomes hyper-focused on the task at hand. He explores flavors and scents and colors, and his mind is at rest from life’s stressors.
Cooking is truly a healing activity for my husband. And in the end, he produces something beautiful and shares it with those around him. He loves to offer his creations to others, and feels satisfaction when they enjoy his piece.
My husband also enjoys creating excel spreadsheets with complex formulas, learning coding languages, dabbling in digital design, and creating blueprints for imagined structures.
And yes, even through they’re digital creations, they still bring him joy and a sense of accomplishment, and he enjoys sharing them with me.
Now, my creative outlets are quite different. I’m not very computer savvy, so I gravitate towards the more tactile things. I sew, draw, color (as you already know), lightly craft, sing, play piano, bake, write (obviously, haha), and organize and clean. Yes, I include organizing and cleaning in that list. Deep cleaning is hugely therapeutic to me and it does produce something -order!
As I dedicate myself to one of these creative activities, my mind can escape a world of anxiety and enter instead a world where I can accomplish, where I am worth something, and where I have talent and value. And when I finish that activity, I have produced something beautiful and/or useful, and that brings feelings of immense satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy.
My grandfather painted, sculpted, carved, built, made knives and pens, sketched, and wrote poetry.
My mom sews, cooks, crafts, and volunteers her time to creative church projects.
My grandmother quilts.
My father takes pictures.
My brother invents things.
My sister is a master pianist.
My niece and nephew draw pictures and letters.
My son stacks blocks and knocks them down again.
Creativity comes naturally to all of us, in one way or another. You may not realize it, but you are creative. I truly believe everyone is creative. You just have to find the right project, the right hobby.
Finding it after all, will improve your health.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty…
–Dieter F Uchtdorf, “Happiness, your Heritage,” Nov 2008 LDS General Conference.
I made a goal a long time ago that I would create something every day. As I have begun re-implementing that same goal in my life now, I have found that being happy has come easier to me. That the break from anxiety often lessens it later. That the feelings of fulfillment and self worth linger past completion and seep into other parts of life.
Even if it’s a short and simple creation, it is worth it, and it is meaningful.