According to a new study, the key to happiness lies neither in love nor financial success, but quite literally in your own hands. Apparently, individuals who practice a creative activity once a day, no matter their skill level, are happier than the rest of us non-creative types.
The study found that after just 13 days, volunteers who practiced a creative hobby each day demonstrated an “upward spiral for wellbeing and creativity,” The Huffington Post reported. This notable increase in positive energy was observed the following day. In addition to an overall increase in general feelings of happiness and joy, the creative tasks also led volunteers to report more happiness in their jobs and relationship status, despite no actual changes in either. This would suggest that something as simple as practicing your creativity can have a long reaching effect of happiness on all aspects of one's life.
“There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning,” study author Dr. Tamlin S. Conner said in a statement, explaining how her work focuses on how creativity enhances emotional well-being whereas past research focused on how work hampered creativity.
For the study, Conner and her team had 658 volunteers use a diary to document how much time they spent on creative exercises and the emotional changes they experienced, both positive and negative, as a result. After 13 days, the psychologists tracked what they described as an “upward spiral for wellbeing and creativity” for those who partook in daily creative tasks. In addition, volunteers were also asked to rank their responses to statements like “Today I was interested and engaged in my daily activities,” and “Today my social relationships were supportive and rewarding,” The Huffington Post reported.
Results showed that doing a creative activity was correlated with increased overall happiness in all aspects of the respondents' lives. What’s more, the report did not specify whether any particular type of creative activity was better than another, so it’s likely that doing something as simple as coloring in an adult coloring book or picking up a new musical talent, despite your level of expertise, could be enough to boost your mood for the following day.
Source: Conner TS, DeYoung CG, Silvia PG. Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing. Journal of Positive Psychology. 2016