3 Reasons Why Creative Pursuits Can Save Your Life
There has been no greater time in history than now to begin a creative pursuit. With 60-hour work weeks becoming the norm, you might feel like you don’t have the time. However, picking up a new hobby (or even an old one) not only helps you decompress, but it could also save your life. Here are 3 reasons why you should get up, get out, and do something:
1) Brain Health. Each step in the process of creativity activates many different parts of your brain. Whether Salsa dancing or Sudoku, using both sides of your brain reduces memory loss. Neurogenesis, or brain-growth, has been seen in people learning a new language in as little as 3 months! Another bonus to hopping into a hobby is well-being. Focusing on an enjoyable hobby will release neurotransmitters that connect us to the feelings associated with happiness. For instance, if you become skilled at gardening, you will naturally grow confidence in tandem with your San Marzano tomatoes. For a double-dose of well-being, research has shown volunteering is a catalyst for feeling like you just bit into cotton candy at a fair.
2) Physical Health. Recreation is another word for play. The etymology of ‘recreation’ tells us that historically hobbies were restorative. It is no secret that hobbies such as yoga, salsa, and group hikes can make us feel happier. The momentary benefits associated with having positive relationships within a hobby group amplify into a healthier body. Lower stress levels that accompany recreational activities lower blood-pressure as well, leading to a longer life.
3) Occupational Health. Yes, there is a reason to boldly tell your boss ‘I am going to a Potter’s Wheel class!’ By blocking out time you need to enjoy your new creative path, you also designate an appropriate amount of time to accomplish your work goals. Burnout from work can be avoided by feeling the happiness a healthy habit like archery or pickling kimchi can bring you. Need to be reinvigorated for a task at work? The hormones and neurotransmitters released when you focus on a hobby aid in creating the feeling of motivation. There is no better primer to productivity than motivation.
Recreational activities have been proven to improve your mental, physical, and occupational health. Adding a hobby like pottery or planting can help you recreate and redefine ‘happy hour’ by digging your hands into something new. Even thinking about your hobby can activate the locations in the brain that produce creativity and regeneration. Empower yourself with the benefits of recreation, unburden your conscience, put down that phone, and get a new hobby!