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Being Creative Can Boost Wellbeing in Young Adults

Creativity and health

Early adulthood has many emotional ups and downs. Researchers have found that being creative can help promote positive wellbeing.


Some have described the life of a young adult as being a “roller coaster.” We can all remember that youthful time as both being exciting and scary at the same time. Emotions widely range among the spectrum – sometimes within the same day!

Researchers from the University of Otago suggest that taking on a creative hobby may be beneficial to improving the emotional state of young adults.

In the study, researchers from the Department of Psychology asked 658 college students to keep a daily diary for almost two weeks. They found a pattern linking the pursuit of creative endeavors with feelings of enthusiasm and “flourishing” – meaning the participants felt as if they were achieving positive growth.

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The most common examples of creativity were songwriting, creative writing (such as poetry or short fiction), knitting and crocheting, art (painting, drawing, sketching), and musical performance.

Dr Tamlin Conner, study leader, and her co-authors write that: "this finding suggests a particular kind of upward spiral for wellbeing and creativity -- engaging in creative behavior leads to increases in wellbeing the next day, and this increased wellbeing is likely to facilitate creative activity on the same day.

They conclude that "overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning."

Journal Reference:
Tamlin S. Conner, Colin G. DeYoung, Paul J. Silvia. Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2016.1257049

Photo Credit:
By Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons