I often hear people make the comment that they are “not creative.” This has always concerned me—not only because I think everyone can be creative in different ways, but because of the importance placed on creativity in our individual lives. We often think of “being creative” as having musical talent, writing or artistic ability. However, creativity can be elicited in much broader ways and it can do more for our mental psyche than we ever expected.
According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, “Despite methodological and other limitations, the studies included in our review appear to indicate that creative engagement can decrease anxiety, stress and mood disturbances.”
Creative engagement can be performed in many different ways and it is vital to find out which ways best suit you. Perhaps drawing or painting is something that frustrates you more than it provides relaxation. This may lead you away from using it as a creative outlet. However, it might be just the thing your brain needs to work through in order to learn new methods and stretch in fresh ways.
Many careers do not allow for creativity in obvious patterns, which means that we need to add in an activity that gives us the ability to challenge and expand our minds in new ways. Even the jobs that don’t look creative from the outside can actually be enhanced by using creativity in our time away from them. When we force our brains to think outside the box when we aren’t working, we train it to use these skills in a workplace setting. This can also make work more challenging, productive and ultimately more fulfilling.
We often hear about the importance of physical health—especially for people who work in jobs that are more sedentary than others. Physical activity, such as taking a walk or getting up from the desk every hour, is an essential part of staying fit. However, this can also be applied to our mental well-being. It is just as important to keep the mind strong, as it is the physical body. Taking a break in the middle of the day to read a book at lunch, listen to a podcast or write a journal entry can help our minds peel away from the stress of the day so we can return to the problems with fresh eyes.
When we use our
mental faculties in order to think creatively, we are able to use this skill
towards other means in the future. Creative thinking in our “off time” lends to
better problem-solving and adaptability in a workplace setting or in the home.