Feeling Downcast? One Creative Act a Day Can Lift Your Spirit, Make You Happier

One creative act a day can lift your spirit and inspire a greater sense of happiness and “flourishing” than usual.

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Digital writers, entrepreneurs and other creative people aren’t famed for their boundless joy. It’s not every day you’ll find writers, for instance, in a wave-your-arms-in-the-air-like-you-just-don’t-care happy mood. But creativity is a deeply affecting activity – and it’s perhaps this which keeps us hooked.

The link between happiness and creativity may be ‘complicated,’ but being creative makes us feel better emotionally and happier. Actually, researchers have found that doing just one creative thing each day aside from work – be it painting, playing the guitar, or even cooking dinner – not only makes you happier, but also brings more enthusiasm and higher “flourishing” than usual.

Flourishing is a psychological concept that can be described as increasing positive growth in oneself.


Doing One Creative Thing Each Day Increases Happiness


According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, engaging in just one creative activity each day can increase your overall well-being, making you more likely to feel "energetic, enthusiastic, {and} excited." You’ll do well to make time for that creative hobby of yours.

If you’re thinking, “I'm not a very creative or artistic person outside my job, so I guess I'm just doomed to an unhappy life." Not so fast. The study researchers' definition of creativity is pretty broad, encompassing things you can easily do – your talent (or lack thereof) notwithstanding.

"Creativity includes coming up with novel or original ideas; expressing oneself in an original and useful way; or spending time doing artistic activities (art, music, painting, writing, etc)," wrote the study authors in a press release about the study.

"The most common examples {of creative activities that boost happiness} reported were songwriting; creative writing (poetry, short fiction); knitting and crochet; making new recipes; painting, drawing, and sketching; graphic and digital design; and musical performance."

Those who engaged in these activities didn't just feel better in the moment; they were happier the next day. Their resultant “positive affect” (PA) – which encompasses feelings such as pleasurable engagement, happiness, joy, excitement, and enthusiasm – on a particular day spilled over to the next.


Creative Acts Predict Happiness and Wellbeing the Next Day


“Our earlier research found that PA appears to increase creativity during the same day, but our latest findings show that there is no cross-day effect. Rather, it is creative activity on the previous day that predicts wellbeing the next,” explained lead researcher Dr Tamlin Conner of University of Otago.

Ultimately, the researchers found that being creative launches "a particular kind of upward spiral for well-being and creativity.” The study supports the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating well-being and positive psychological functioning.

Try it. Boot low spirits and feelings of despondence by engaging in one creative act each day. Break out your trusty guitar and play for a few hours, or whip out your paint brushes and paint something at the end of a long day or whenever you have some downtime. It’ll increase your overall happiness, enthusiasm and higher “flourishing” in the moment and in the following day.

Read Also: Mental Hacks to Get Back to Being Happy (Backed by Science).