Being creative isn’t easy, even for artists. At times, the ability to summon creativity can feel daunting, while other times, the ability to come up with novel ideas may come easily. But there’s plenty of research on what prompts and enhance creativity, and also how creative expression itself can positively impact your health and wellness. If you’re looking to live a more creative life in 2018, here are seven ways to do just that (and you’ll feel better while you’re doing it).
In order to better appreciate beauty and art, find ways to get rid of distractions. A study published in May of this year found that when we’re distracted, our ability to experience beauty is diminished. The research supports the contention popularized by philosopher Immanuel Kant, that processing beauty requires complex thoughts.
The same applies when looking at art. And these days, the biggest distraction at galleries and museums is very likely your cell phone. So, next time you’re heading out to see art, consider putting your phone away, or leave it at home altogether. As painful as it may be to pass up a selfie with the Mona Lisa, research has found that the mere presence of a phone in your pocket can lessen your focus.
If you’ve ever worked with clay, you’ll probably agree that there’s something about the medium that is inherently therapeutic. A study published this past April backs this up, indicating that making ceramic objects can help improve mood, motivation, and decision-making among adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). The finding supports the contention that clay art therapy (CAT) can help alleviate the effects of depression among adults, and thus can serve as a viable treatment option for the millions of individuals across the world suffering from depression.
Loneliness and isolation have been linked to myriad negative health outcomes, from death to depression. But some who intentionally search out solitude tend to score higher on a measure of creativity, according to a study published in November 2017. The research found that the motivation that leads a person to avoid social interactions is crucial in understanding the effects of being alone, and not all reasons for social withdrawal are bad. Specifically, while the study found that those who were shy or anti-social were less creative, those who were able socialize but preferred not to were more creative.
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