You’ve probably heard of flow — it’s the state you get in when you’re completely absorbed in something. Have you ever been working on a project and completely lost all sense of self and time? That’s flow. It reduces anxiety, boosts your mood, and even slows your heart rate.
It’s not just being in flow that helps your happiness. Repetitive creative motions like knitting, drawing, or writing help activate flow, and are all tasks that create a result. And when you succeed at creating a result, no matter what it is, your brain is flooded with dopamine, that feel-good chemical that actually helps motivate you. Whether or not you’re aware of your increased happiness, the hit of dopamine you get after being in flow will drive and influence you toward similar behavior.
Boosts Your Immune System
It’s time to start taking journaling seriously. Studies show people who write about their experiences daily actually have stronger immune system function. Although experts are still unsure how it works, writing increases your CD4+ lymphocyte count, the key to your immune system. Listening to music can also rejuvenate function in your immune system.
Decreases Risks of Cognitive Impairment
Studies show that individuals with dementia retain creative abilities longer than other skills. As such, art therapy is a popular aid for patients with dementia. But another study by the Mayo Clinic suggests that regularly engaging in creativity can actually delay cognitive decline. The researchers suggested that crafts from painting to quilting for middle-aged adults and older individuals may be able to help prevent or delay common cognitive conditions seen in old age.