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Science Shows How a Creative Lifestyle Reduces Stress

Mental Health: An Increasing Problem

During these times of global pandemic and lockdown, we’ve seen mental health concerns become an overwhelming reality for many. We’re also living in a digitalized world, where we’re constantly online and connected via our phones increasing our stress levels. While some apps and technology are trying their best to combat mental health issues, the solution may be far simpler than that.

Many of the topics I cover, are beneficial for those suffering from depression and anxiety. Yes, Osteopathy can provide prompt pain management however, one of the key long term benefits, is the positive impact on your mental health. We want to see our client’s well-being and general health optimised in a holistic way which included mindset.

The Power Of Creativity To Reduce Stress

In this article we’ll explore creativity as a powerful mindset to reduce stress. It could be your secret weapon in supporting your fight against anxiety. As children our days were filled with imagination and creativity. These were the days we allowed our thoughts to roam free. While growing up, our responsibilities increased and often inhibited our free-thinking and creativity, providing no outlet for stress.

While sitting down and watching a movie can be a great way to relax, it lacks the depth of stress reduction that creativity can achieve. Research shows that a creative activity goes a long way in reducing stress levels. Researchers conducted a recent experiment prove this synopsis.  The experiment featured a group of 40 participants in a room with art supplies for 45 minutes. The subjects were instructed to indulge their imagination while scientists monitored their physiological responses.

According to the results, 75% of the participants recorded a lower occurrence of the hormone cortisol, the body’s chemical response to stress. One researcher confirmed that a comfortable setting opens up the creativity in most people despite their previous artistic preferences.

A different but related study on creativity conducted on college students working on creativity based projects revealed significantly reduced anxiety levels. Experts relate this occurrence to a sense of complete engagement referred to as “flow.” According to psychologist Elaine Slater, engagement in a creative lifestyle places us in an almost meditative state that dissolves our stress.

Art As A Therapy

According to scientists, art is a therapy against anxiety. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi confirms that any form of creative outlet stretches the mind to its limits, removing stress-induced thinking. According to Mihaly, the originator of the term “flow”, defines it as a conscious state where the mind works to perform its best.

Creativity is a useful application of the mind compared to passive methods of relaxation like watching television or listening to music. A creative mind state creates “flow,” a state where you lose yourself in the work at hand. A creative lifestyle and state of mind reduces the brain’s dependence on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that deals with recognizing our surroundings.

A creative lifestyle improves our perceived happiness levels. We often achieve happiness after realizing an achievement. After completing a creative project, the brain celebrates by releasing our feel happy hormone, dopamine. The effect of dopamine secreted into the system provides a drive towards achieving more. Once we get started, our minds work to get a continuous happy feeling so we become motivated to engage in more creative activities.

An Outlet For Stress And Anxiety

Scientists believe that anxiety can also be a result of pent up thoughts that have no healthy outlet. A research posted on the British Journal of Psychiatry reveals that nursing mothers participating in creative activities recover from pregnancy-related mental conditions faster than non-creative mothers. Creativity taps into our emotions, allowing us to express our suppressed feelings.  The study also concluded that such activities go a long way to reduce occurrences of dementia.

For music creators, a creative lifestyle provides a gateway to bring ideas to life. The most impressive effect of a creative lifestyle is its ability to improves the brain’s capacity to work, making us smarter. Individuals creating musicand engaging in artistic activities have a better connection between both hemispheres of the brain. The brain’s functions are divided between the left handling motor functions and the right handing our imagination. Creative activities infuse the working of the two halves engaging the motor functions in bringing the imagination to life. Scientists confirm that a close working of the two parts of the brain helps to make us think faster and become smarter.

Last Thoughts

With the right mindset, you can learn to enjoy life even if we were to enter lockdown! Whether a musician, a writer, or an artist, tapping into your creative side is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. A creative lifestyle; disengages us from overwhelm, provides an outlet for pent up frustrations, and works to improve the workings of our brains. It links our imagination to our cognitive functions. Expand your creative lifestyle today.

Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Author Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Daniel Lopez, D.O. grew up with a lot of pain trying many things that did not help. Realizing that if he could not help himself, he would be unable to help others effectively, he dedicated himself to finding real answers. Since that time, Dr. Lopez has found a unique but powerful style where he has patients from around the country and the world that travel to see him for headaches, TMJ issues, eye issues, neck pain, back pain, and more. Daniel Lopez, D.O. is an osteopathic physician with Osteopathic Integrative Medicine. Prior to that he had a private practice in NYC for 6 years. He is the author of the Amazon best seller "Unwinding the Body and Decoding the Messages of Pain: An In-Depth Look into the World of Osteopathic Physicians and How They 'Magically' Use Their Hands for Healing." He lives in Aurora, CO with his wife and daughters.

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