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Why You Should Nurture Your Creative Wellness (and reap the benefits)

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

The other day, a very cherished friend told me a story about his college art professor that struck a chord with me. The professor described an experiment that he had performed in which he asked the following question to a classroom of first-graders, “How many of you consider yourself to be an artist?” Not surprisingly, every first-grade student raised a hand. When the professor asked the same question to a room of sixth graders, only two kids raised their hands. This scenario saddened me a bit, but also got me thinking…why do we lose our drive to create as we age? Perhaps it’s that somehow letting go of Creative Wellness becomes easier as we get inundated with each new year, each new life endeavor, and more responsibility. Most of us can attest that while modern technology has its benefits and keeps us connected, it also depletes our attention and focus throughout the day, which ultimately inhibits our ability to think creatively. No doubt, some of us have managed to hang on to our creative spirit one way or another. Still many have put their ability to generate what I’ll call “creative flow” on the back burner.

Many scientific and psychological studies illustrate the health benefits of engaging in the act of creating itself. These studies show that engaging in the arts reduces symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety, and correlates to physical improvements in the body. It seems to be true: mental well-being and healing go hand-in-hand. People have been using the arts as a way to express, communicate, and heal for thousands of years. So much so that the discipline of art therapy began to formalize during the middle of the 20th-century[1].

Don’t worry; you don’t have to be classified as an artist, musician, dancer, or yogi, and you don’t have to paint like Picasso to reap the benefits of creativity. It’s the act of creation itself that ignites and fuels our spirit, which creates creative flow in our lives. Many claim they are “not creative,” or “didn’t inherit the creative gene.” This is not true! Everyone is born with special gifts and talents. If we give ourselves the space to think, explore and create with our unique talents, amazing things can happen. Everyone can benefit from creating and thus, Creative Wellness is equally as important as all other aspects of health and wellness.

Speaking of health and wellness, there’s a wellness movement happening in the United States and around the globe. The Health and Wellness industry is a booming business. Globally, wellness sectors, considered to be comprised of 10 diverse segments (see bubble chart below), now represent a $3.7 trillion economy[2]. Yet, this figure excludes engagement with creative arts—traditionally described as art, music, dance/movement, poetry/writing, and drama therapies[3].

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a non-profit 501(c)(3) considered to be the leading research and educational resource for the global wellness industry, defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”[4]. If the goal is to impact health and wellness on a holistic level, where is Creative Wellness on the bubble diagram? I’d advocate that creative health and wellness are equally, if not more important, to the formula that equates to one's overall quality of life—mind, body, and soul.

The moral of this story is that the process of making art—whether writing, painting, singing, dancing, or anything in between—is recognizably important and good for you. Creative Wellness provides physical and mental benefits and thus, it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Expressing yourself in whatever way ignites your spirit is fundamental to being human. I'm trying to do more of it every day and I'd encourage you to do the same.

Remember being that first grader that believed she was an artist? Well, she’s still there inside of you. Take a moment to ignore all the incoming calls, posts, and feeds and instead, nurture your own Creative Wellness. Do it for an hour, a day, once a month, or every day. So take out a journal and start writing. Put pen to paper and sketch a drawing. Grab your camera and take a picture. Turn up the music and dance. Make a bracelet. Try throwing a ceramic pot. Start a conversation and make it a good one. Express yourself in some way. Anything you create can be a work of art!


[2]Global Wellness Institute, Global Wellness Economy Monitor, January 2017.


[4]Global Wellness Institute, Global Wellness Economy Monitor, January 2017.

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