Creative activities lead to a boost in positive emotion the next day, new research finds.
If repeated, engaging in creativity activities can lead to an upward spiral of positive emotions.
The conclusions come from a study of 658 students who kept daily diaries of their experience over 13 days.
The researchers found that people reported feeling more enthusiasm and greater positive emotion the day after engaging in creative activities.
The most common types of creative activities the students engaged in were:
- creative writing (poetry, short fiction),
- knitting and crochet,
- making new recipes,
- and sketching,
- graphic and digital design,
- and musical performance.
Dr Tamlin Conner, the study’s leader, said:
“There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning.
However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional wellbeing.”
The positive emotions people felt included:
- and pleasurable engagement.
Dr Conner said:
“Our earlier research found that PA appears to increase creativity during the same day, but our latest findings show that there is no cross-day effect.
Rather, it is creative activity on the previous day that predicts wellbeing the next.”
The authors note 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.”
The study was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology (Conner et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Drawing image from Shutterstock