Being creative can improve health

Maytinee Kramer/Staff Writer

Creating things with your hands is a time-old tradition that will never cease to exist. Arts and crafts are a wonderful distraction from our daily routines, and whether it’s jewelry making, painting, crocheting, or sculpting, it gives a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Making art has given adults a vehicle for escaping, producing a stress-reducing effect while also encouraging creative thinking.  

Adults have long used crafts to unwind, and recently, more and more people are beginning to realize the health benefits of arts & crafts, rather than just seeing it as a favorite childhood pastime.

One of the hottest items topping bestseller lists are coloring books for adults. These coloring books have been marketed toward stressed-out adults who want to benefit from the quiet zen that a coloring session can offer.

Adult coloring books can be found taking over shelves in all sorts of stores, offering a variety of designs and concepts to choose from. Although the first commercially successful adult coloring books were published in 2012 and 2013, researchers and art therapists have been promoting the calming benefits for over a decade.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University to the editors of Yoga Journal suggest coloring as an alternative to meditation. The American Art Therapy Association stated to Time Magazine that the process of making and creating artwork is used to “explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.”

While coloring books may be beneficial for mindfulness and reducing stress, a different study published in the journal Neurology suggests that older adults who do creative activities like arts and crafts could delay the development of memory problems in old age.

The study followed men and women for four years, reporting their levels of engagement in the arts, including woodworking, ceramics, and sewing. The study also examined their social life — hanging out with friends, traveling, attending book clubs and Bible studies—as well as their computer use.

The study found that those who exercised their artistic muscle were 73 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, or memory problems and reduced mental function, than those who didn’t partake in artistic activities.

People who took part in a lot of crafts like woodworking and quilting were 45 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than people who did not, and computer users were 53 percent less likely to develop it, compared to those who didn’t use the computer.

In addition, social adults were 55 percent less likely to have memory problems later on than their antisocial peers.

Arts and crafts further uses one’s senses in new and novel ways, enhancing problem-solving skills and encouraging creative thinking that lets you come up with your own unique solutions.
It’s fun to explore and express yourself through art because it’s open to interpretation, guides personal creative expression, reduces stress levels, and can give some insight on what you can and enjoy doing. Overall, arts & crafts are not just for children, it’s for people all ages.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Image retrieved from Flickr.

About the Author

Maytinee Kramer
Call me May. I’m a senior double majoring in Asian studies and broadcast media and minoring in international relations. I’m a K-pop and Disney junkie, but I also enjoy watching anime and cosplaying. Some of my favorite shows are “Once Upon a Time,” “Supernatural,” and “Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma” while my favorite music artists are 2PM, GOT7, DEAN and Eddy Kim. After college, I hope to work as a news anchor, but I’d eventually like to host a show/segment that focuses on traveling. I am fluent in Thai and currently learning Japanese and Korean.

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