Do One Creative Thing Every Day to Increase Your Overall Happiness

It's hard enough to finish your to-do list every day, much less find time to express yourself artistically. But according to research, finding that time is worth the effort. Doing one creative thing each day, be it painting, playing the guitar, or even just cooking dinner, will increase your overall happiness.

Find Your Muse

There's nothing people like more than talking about how busy they are. Between work, family, work, friends, and work, it's all too common for people to complain that they just don't have time for pursuits like drawing or journaling or whipping up a meal. But a 2016 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that we'd do well to make the time. According to the study, engaging in just one creative activity each day can increase your overall well-being, making you more likely to feel "energetic, enthusiastic, [and] excited."

At this point you might be thinking, "But I'm not a creative person, so I guess I'm just doomed to an unhappy life." Not so fast. According to the researchers' definition, "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)." That's a pretty wide-ranging definition. A press release about the study explained that "the most common examples 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. Ultimately, the researchers found that being creative launches "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."

Happy Trees

Knowing this, it makes some sense that karaoke, BYOB painting classes, and adult coloring books are so popular. According to Nielsen Bookscan, 12 million adult coloring books were sold in 2015, and the New York Times reports that "paint-and-sip" classes are multiplying by the hundreds.

But you don't even need to spend money to get your creative juices flowing. Snap a beautiful photograph and put that sucker on Instagram. Find a recipe and treat your family to a gourmet feast. Sew a pillow, sing along with the radio, or try something different with your hair. According to the research, we'd all be smart to find some time to get in touch with our inner muse.

Want to get in on the adult coloring book craze? Check out this Amazon bestseller full of animals, mandalas, flowers, and other soothing designs. We handpick book recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

How to Stay Creative

Is Creativity Learned or Inherited?

There's evidence that it's deeply rooted in your genes.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Creativity has been linked to an individual's genetic make-up. 00:18

  2. Social support and community may also play a role in creative expression and talent. 01:22

What Do You Do To Feel More Creative?

Hear how a number of creative minds stay in the zone.

Written by Rachel Bertsche Levine December 15, 2016

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