Doing Something Creative Can Boost Your Well-Being

A new study suggests that small acts of creativity in everyday life increase our overall sense of well-being.

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Many people consider creativity the realm of the tortured soul. Think of Sylvia Plath, Kurt Cobain, or Vincent Van Gogh. Though there is no doubt that Plath, Cobain, and Van Gogh created works of great art, science suggests that they may be more the exception than the rule.

In fact, many studies have found that, while suffering mental illness can sometimes coincide with creating enduring art, creativity in general is more associated with positive emotion and well-being. For example, researchers have found that people report being happy and energized when they are engaged in everyday creative endeavors, and that being in a positive mood goes hand in hand with creative thinking.

But while these studies and others suggest a link between positive emotion and everyday creativity, it’s still unclear which one causes the other (or if they exist in a kind of virtuous circle).

Now, a newly published study aims to set the record straight.

Tamlin Conner, a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and two American researchers analyzed surveys from over 650 young adults who had filled out daily online…