The relationship between well-being and creativity has been known for a long time. What has not been apparent though is how they work together as part of a biological and mental process. Do the endorphins we feel during happiness instigate a desire to create, or does creating release them? Perhaps they work in unison, each complimenting the other. This seems to be the case according to a recent study. New Zealand University of Otago researcher, Tamlin Connor, along with two American researchers conduced analysis on results taken from 450 adults. The subjects each completed an online diary for thirteen days while going through creative endeavours set by the scientists. The well-being and various factors associated with it were scored each day. It concluded that creativity helps to give life more meaning, and helps to establish a sense of social connection. These are really important things which provide psychological support to individuals who in turn affect the whole.
“Research often yields complex, murky, or weak findings,” she says. “But these patterns were strong and straightforward: Doing creative things today predicts improvements in well-being tomorrow. .” Tamlin Connor
It's been stated that creativity and well-being related research often produces complex and difficult to resolve results. Perhaps the nature of creative thinking people means that scientific precision is often lacking? We are more inclined to guess, I think! It's more fun. Fun didn't get a rocket to the moon, though. The good thing about this research project was that the results were clear and concise, giving thinking groups real data and tools for the problems they're aiming to solve. Well-being in society is of course a key factor in well-functioning society. Happy people are peaceful people, and that's what we all want.
Even when the tables turn and it's not appropriate to remain peaceful, creativity and art can be instrumental in the expression of right ideas to counter-act the wrong ones. We do have to judge which is which, do what you will but harm none is a good rule to follow. How about personality types? It turns out, during the course of the research that we are all capable of getting the benefits of creativity. It doesn't matter if you're left or right handed, a man or a woman, a mathematician or a holistic therapist, all brains work the same on this level.
Many of us have mental blocks to creativity that stop us from going ahead and doing something creative. It's quite common to believe that it's not worth trying. This is not true. According to Warren Berger, author of The Book of Beautiful Questions, there are five questions we often ask ourselves which actually stop creativity. His mission is of course to help it along, so it does make sense to identify the antithesis to his goal. This way we can be more focussed on how we project our ideas, and which ones to project. Writing in FastCoDesign, he states the five nasty questions. Learn them to avoid them.
Of course, the answers are yes, absolute originality is a myth, in between the times you have other things to do, no-one can truly predict a blockbuster from an idea, and anywhere you like.
That makes it easier to focus on the right sort of questions that keep us being creative. It's a good idea to visit creative communities and make time to indulge in some art. When we see creativity, it instantly feeds our ideas and desires to make and do certain things. It's a good thing when we see that an area has paid attention to its creative expression. They often make the news when they appear, or when the rest of the world slowly starts to notice that something good is taking place.
For example, Factory 798, a relic from industrial China when architecture was numbered according to function, is now an open community for the arts. The decrepit buildings have been made safe and converted to house all manner of creative exploits. It's now called the 798 arts district and contains ten years worth of artistic and creative growth. A gallery of fascinating photographs by Edward Caruso features in Design Boom. They're worth checking out. Along with the help of a Belgian philanthropist, and Chinese design firm Boston, the complex makes for an ideal and intriguing landscape for the arts.
Who do you know that loves whiskey? Show them this. From The Sunday Times.
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