By: Mical W.
In the world we live in with plenty of distractions and busy agendas, it can be difficult to silence the outside world and get in tune with yourself. Try taking some time to explore your creative side through writing, drawing, making music, or cooking. Your creative outlet can be a form of therapy as well as your instrument for the community. The creative process has the ability to heal, restore, and transform our health. Since, it integrates physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being (Cloninger C., Renard, & Cloninger K., 2013).
Health Benefits of Creativity
1. Relaxation Creativity allows you to tap into your flow, a state of deep focus where we perform and feel our best. The prefrontal cortex, a part of your brain, that plays a role in impulse control and your "inner critic" quiets down. So, you are able to be more courageous and free. This flow state also promotes your "rest and digest" response and lessens the "fight or flight response" (Cloninger et al., 2013)
2. Brain Plasticity It leads to a calm alert state that promotes new brain cell connections (Cloninger et al, 2013)
3. Immune Function and Mental Health Singing can cause changes in neurotransmitters and hormones, including oxytocin, immunoglobulin A, and endorphins which better betters immune function and increases happiness (Kang, Scholp, & Jiang, 2018)
4. Self-Expression Being able to express oneself is important for the healing process.
As Audre Lorde stated, "For women... poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change."
Get Creative with Food
Other than traditional art forms, food itself can be a place where you express yourself. Not only does food serve a role for our nutrition needs, you also can get in tune with your senses and creative vision. With fruits and vegetables, you can connect to the vibrant colors, shapes, and textures. Plus, you can play with food presentation and create your own recipes!
Eat the rainbow. Try a variety of fruits and veggies! Aim to get a variety of fruits and vegetable. Not only will it give you different flavors and antioxidants. Higher fruit and vegetable consumption is linked to increased levels of positive mood and flourishment (Brookie, Best, & Connor, 2018). Plus, it's pleasing to the eyes.
Recreate different cuisines! Say goodbye to boring meal preps, by learning about the common spices and vegetables in your favorite foods and making it at home.
Switch up your whole grains and jazz up the flavors! Especially during the holiday season, it is the time we crave sweet desserts such as hot cocoa and pumpkin pie. So why not, get creative and make your morning porridge festive as well! For example, chocolate oats with cocoa and dates or a pumpkin spiced version with pumpkin, cinnamon, and some maple syrup. Also, feel free to try different whole-grains such as Scottish oats or quinoa for varied nutrition.
Brookie, K., Best, G., & Conner, T. (2018). Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and Vegetables. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00487
Cloninger, C. R., & Cloninger, K. M. (2013). People Create Health: Effective Health Promotion is a Creative Process. International journal of person centered medicine, 3(2), 114-122.
Kang J., Scholp A., Jiang J. J. (2017). A review of the physiological effects and mechanisms of singing. J. Voice 32, 390–395. 10.1016/j.jvoice.2017.07.008
Lorde, A. 1984. Sister Outsider. Freedom, Calif.: Crossing Press.
The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.