I do love psychological research that tells us how to live longer – especially if one of those behaviours or qualities is what I do already. So I was delighted to read on Psychology Today a report on a study that has evidence to show that being creative can help you live longer. (Well, at least among men, anyway).
Basically, the study of 1,349 men over 18 years shows that being open to new ideas and being willing to try new things can lengthen your lifespan, with a 12% reduction in mortality risk.
How does creativity help? It basically exercises the brain to keep it fit and it helps to reduce stress levels (or at least helps to manage stress better and make it less daunting). Creativity is recommended throughout the whole of life to cope better with the onset of aging, and our thoughts and feelings around it. (Who doesn’t feel better after having externalised our stresses through painting, writing or even dancing).
When you see kids playing with paints, being clever with crayons, and lacking any kind of self-consciousness when they sing, dance and play, I often wonder where that innocent sense of playfulness and creativity goes when we grow up.
Let’s bring our inner children out more often and let them have a play. I think that the creativity the researchers talk about is also related to a sense of fun and a feeling that life is still full of wonder and curiosity, no matter what age you are.