Research Shows That Creative Activities Like Baking and Knitting Can Boost Mental Health

I’ve always loved creative activities like knitting and baking. These activities help me relax after a long day, and they’re often easy enough to complete that I can do them while listening to my favorite playlist or watching one of my favorite movies.

While some people might be naturally drawn to creative pursuits more than others, a new study shows that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everyone to take up a creative hobby.

This study from the University of Otago in New Zealand was published in “The Journal of Positive Psychology,” and it suggests that working on a craft project boosts your mood not just the day you work on it but the next day as well.

For the study, 658 college students used diaries to record “how much time they spent on creative activities, daily positive and negative affect, and daily flourishing.”

Dr. Lynn Soots, a positive psychologist and professor, defines “flourishing” as “the product of the pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness through meeting goals, being connected with life passions, and relishing in accomplishments through the peaks and valleys of life.”

Students who took part in the study reported a positive affect and “flourishing” the day after they were more creative than usual.

The results of this study suggest that you can boost your mood by boosting your creativity. Students who took part in the study did creative activities like crafts, cooking, painting, writing, digital design and musical performance.

One of the great benefits to doing something creative, whether it’s painting, making jam, or crocheting, is that you can share what you’ve created with others. You can have a sense of accomplishment when you’re done working on a project, and you possibly even have a one-of-a-kind gift to give someone you care about.

If you have school-age children, they might bring home craft projects that they completed at school. They don’t have to be the only ones getting creative. Even if your artistic skills are at kindergarten level, you can still enjoy the mood boosting benefits of doing something creative, and you just might surprise yourself by learning a new skill.

All of this makes me think I might need to take one of those classes where you paint a picture while sipping a glass of wine since wine tasting is beneficial too.

What creative activities do you enjoy doing? Do you think you’ll start doing creative activities more often?