Life is filled with hazards, walls, and obstacles. As we get older, there are more and more things that can be dangerous. The biggest danger in life though is regret and not enjoying creativity of your own and others. In fact, this might even be key to continuing to live a long and happy life!
Through art and creativity, there is an opportunity to build meaning. When attempting to get into a gallery a while ago I talked with the curator and they told me something valuable. The curator said that in a world where anyone with a camera can take an image it takes a real creator to take a photograph. A photograph infers meaning and a deep connection with a location or subject. Through this meaning that is clearly and concisely communicated the viewer and artist can gain an immediate connection to the valuable message the photograph is telling. This could be as simple as a beautiful location perfectly capture or it may be a somber, intimate scene raising awareness of an issue.
Having a Purpose
The act of communicating a message creatively through photography or other mediums creates a challenge to the creator. It can also therefore create a sense of purpose because of how important the task is. This sense of purpose can also be translated to the viewer or collector as they can appreciate and absorb the attention to detail and essence of the art. This purpose gives us all something to live for and get out of bed in the morning. There is something bigger than just one person when using our creativity.
There is also a generally positive outlook or the idea of intense resilience when using creativity in art. An obstacle becomes a test of our abilities rather than an insurmountable wall, and instead of building stress up in the body it can wash away through creative applications. The somber scene showing something that is an issue in our world today becomes a call to action. These add to our sense of purpose as one individual doing our best to contribute positively, and this makes us push forward rather than retreat.
Art can help us even more directly at an older age because of how it can activate the brain’s creativity. The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project is a great example of how art can help those suffering from old age can still find enjoyment through creative applications and even create new memories! Clearly, there is something connected to living healthy at an old age and keeping the brain healthy through creative applications. Fascinatingly, many artists and writers that lived to 50 years old in the 18th and 19th centuries had life spans on par with that of the upper class, so the historical evidence is there as well!
Continuing to pursue the scientific evidence of creativity and art benefiting our lives there was a study done that took a look at mortality risk. It found that creativity can substantially decrease our odds of dying prematurely with Tori Rodriguez saying “using data on more than 1,000 older men collected between 1990 and 2008. The researchers found that only creativity—not intelligence or overall openness—decreased mortality risk.”. It was further deduced that the reason behind this may be that creativity draws from many parts of the brain. Creative and maintaining these strong connections proved helpful in maintaining our most important organ which is also responsible for the operating of the rest of our bodily functions and decision making.
Live Long and Prosper
So, obviously mental health is important. That is why it has been observed in the month of May in the United States since 1949, but we may only now be starting to scratch the surface of how important it really is. Creativity is a major part of our brains as it encompasses bringing many parts together at once like an orchestra. Like an orchestra, it is best to practice often and the more you play the better it becomes. Build meaning, find purpose, create solutions, and live a life filled with art long into the future!