Do creative people live longer than people who are not so creative? Some new studies suggest this may well be the case.
A study of 1,349 elderly male veterans (unfortunately women were not included in the study), found that creativity – defined here as a willingness to try new things, being accepting of new ideas, and being open – seems to lead to a longer life.
Another study from the Journal of Aging and Health, looked at men over a period of eighteen years (again not including women), and discovered that creative thinking may have led to a 12 percent reduction in mortality risk.
Other studies have also found that greater creativity seems to predict a longer life, having found a connection between openness and reduced metabolic risk.
Study authors say there could be various reasons for these findings, including that creativity needs the engagement of multiple neural networks, and this may keep these networks stronger as the brain ages, compared to someone who is not so creative. Creativity is like a healthy form of exercise for the brain. It has also been observed that people who show creativity also tend to cope with stress better, and not get overwhelmed by it.
Creative activities such as visual arts and crafts, making music, making food, and many other creative pursuits, require constant problem solving, but can also be relaxing and fulfilling, even when energy is expended. There certainly seems to be some common sense to this. Surely if we are more creative, relaxed, fulfilled, yet active in our lives, why couldn’t that lead to healthier minds and bodies, and perhaps even a longer life?
Of course, these are just a few studies, so nothing seems certain as yet. However, it certainly couldn’t do any harm to try and be more creative day to day, could it? I’m certainly going to try.