The benefits of having a regular creative practice cannot be understated. I have shared them extensively in my books, courses and workshops. And I've had the pleasure of interviewing numerous creative professionals about their creative practice, reviewing the findings of psychological research on the benefits of creative activity and coaching people through their creative practice.
From all this experience, I've learned:
- A regular creative practice is associated with 'positive affect'; a psychological term that describes a person who experiences a lot of joy, happiness and optimism.
- Creative activity helps us release thoughts, feelings and experiences that are not healthy. Art therapists called this: an embodied mode of expression because the unwanted feelings are released from the body during the creative activity.
- A regular creative practice is associated with higher levels of neuroplasticity: a phenomenon that neuroscience has found to enable the development of new pathways in the brain, keeping us younger, happier and more effective in all areas of our lives.
- Regular practice of a creative activity builds our skills, providing a springboard for innovation; a necessary outcome for our survival as individuals, communities and as a species.
- When creative activity is cross-disciplinary (i.e. combining two or more creative forms like writing and making art in the one project) it helps us develop analytical and problem-solving skills that benefit us in all areas of our lives.
- Immersion in a creative project provides us with a sense of purpose and control over a lives. Art therapists call this 'agency' which is akin to feeling empowered while doing the creative work.
- Engaging in creative activity with others helps to form a unique bond with them that may not otherwise have happened. This is because there is shared experience of focus, exploration, and expression that often leads to the giving and receiving of feedback.
- Regular creative activity forces us to risks in a safe way. By opening our minds and giving ourselves permission to explore our own approach to a creative project, we develop courage, confidence and resilience.
If you'd like to be more creative, but you're not sure where to start, coaching can help. A cheaper option may be to read books about creativity and how to kickstart your own creative processes. My Inspiration & Creativity collection of books is a one stop shop of anyone who wants to start, expand or enhance their creative practice. The paperback version, over 640 pages in length, makes a beautiful gift.