You don’t have to have the talent of a Rembrandt or Yo-Yo Ma to express creativity and get some very special benefits from doing so. Everyday creativity boosts well-being and can give you a stronger sense of purpose and engagement, and everyone can tap into it.
So why don’t we do more of it?
The book, The Creativity Challenge, suggests modern life isn’t set up to promote creativity the way it used to be, and you might need to not only seek out creative outlets, but also carve out time in your hectic schedule to devote to them.
The first step is to figure out what interests you. You might look for inspiration at an arts and crafts store or a museum, but be open to new ideas, which can be a challenge for adults. When researchers at North Dakota State University asked adults to think about what they would do with a day off, the answers were better when participants were told to imagine themselves as a 7-year-old, a time in life without inhibitions and more free thinking. So, try to channel your inner child, especially if you consider yourself an introvert by nature.
Keep in mind that creativity doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to schedule (or worry about paying for) lessons for activities like painting, creative writing and cooking. But if your budget allows, consider trying something you always wanted to do but never did, whether that’s taking singing, music or even knitting lessons.
And once you do get started, resist giving up too soon if you feel frustrated at first or doubt your skills. It’s not a competition, so don’t feel pressure to “produce” — all you really need is to have a passion for the activity.
Read more about creativity at the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley.