The Health Benefits of Creativity

That flash of inspiration, mind racing with thoughts as you let your imagination roam free in ways you never thought were possible. These are the moments that make us the most happiest. I know that when I am stressed or down, doing something creative changes my mood drastically. However, I never knew just how much it helped my physical and mental health. For example, CNN reported that creative activities impact the body in a similar way that meditation does. Basically like yoga for your brain!

Creative activities are beneficial in a lot of ways. While heavy amounts of psychological stress on a daily basis contribute to numerous chronic diseases such as heart disease, depression and Alzheimer’s, this means it is extremely important to protect your overall health and wellness. Creating art increases the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine. So whether it means creating art yourself or even just observing creativity (attending a concert, going to a museum, etc), you will see overall mood change and significant decrease in your stress levels. Anything that makes you happy you should focus on.

According to the Public Library of Science, making art improves communication between different parts of the brain, which is vital to preventing cognitive deterioration. By performing creative tasks, this promotes the production of new neurons which are crucial for maintaining a healthy central nervous system. Out-of-the-box thinking also stimulates your brain to grow new neurons.

Art also improves memory substantially. It exercises our medial temporal lobes which produces all of your memories. An example of this comes from physician, Dr. Arnold Bresky, who utilizes art therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. By drawing and painting, his patients increased their connectivity between the right and left hemispheres of their brain, growing new brain cells. Dr. Bresky saw a 70% improvement in his patients health and their memories. So not only can you improve your well being, happiness and health you can also retain more memories, which helps you later in life.

In high moments of stress, I strongly recommend that you pick up a pen and draw/write. Whatever it is you are thinking at that moment, capture it in your art. Your self-identity will improve and further down the line you will be impressed with the results.