A new study suggests creative activities can improve young adult’s daily well-being. The study looked at 658 university students who were told to keep a diary about their experiences and emotional state for 13 days.
After reviewing the diary entries, the researchers found that well-being improved following days when participants were engaged in creative activities.
Common examples of creative activities included songwriting, creative writing (poetry, short fiction), knitting and crochet, culinary experimentation, painting, drawing and sketching, graphic and digital design, and musical performance.
Researcher Dr. Tamlin Conner explained, “There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning. However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional well-being.”
“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 well-being the next,” Dr. Conner continued.
The researchers found that even controlling for next-day creativity, the previous day’s creative activities predicted ‘positive affect’ and flourishing.
The researchers concluded, “This finding suggests a particular kind of upward spiral for well-being and creativity – engaging in creative behavior leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day. Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”