Creativity increases wellbeing
Direction matters. If you were in any doubt as to that, think for a moment about gravity. Direction matters too when it comes to creativity and emotion. We know that emotions and creativity are linked but what is the direction of that connection? Most of the research on this connection revolves around looking at how emotions hamper or enhance creativity. In a new study, though, researchers wanted to test the other direction: how do creative pursuits impact emotion?
For the study, the researchers asked subjects to keep a daily diary of their experiences and emotional states over a period of 13 days. They then looked to establish the direction of the link between creative pursuits and positive affect (feelings such as pleasurable engagement, happiness, joy, excitement and enthusiasm) and “flourishing” (increasing positive growth within your self).
For a start, the researchers found that the most common everyday creative activities reported by the subjects were: songwriting, creative writing (poetry and short fiction), knitting, crochet, making new recipes, painting, drawing, sketching, graphic design, digital design and musical performance.
They found that positive affect on any given day did not predict the likelihood of creative activities the next day. In other words, feeling good did not necessarily enhance creativity. However, engaging in creative activities did significantly increase the chance of experiencing positive mood the next day.
Based on this we have our direction: creativity enhances mood but positive mood does not enhance creativity. So if you are feeling a little down pick up your pencil, grab your brush, address your keyboard or raise those knitting needles.
Source: Journal of Positive Psychology