2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct - createintandem.com

2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct

“What is the meaning of life? I don’t know. But I do know that if you think that your life has meaning, you are much more likely to be happy, healthy, and enjoy your life.” —Michael F. Steger, Ph.D.   

“You can create the psychological experience of meaning by seizing meaning opportunities and if you do so that will improve your overall sense of wellbeing.” —Eric Maisel, Ph.D.


2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct:

Your creative instinct serves a valuable two-part purpose: it helps you make meaning in and of your life, and that clarity adds to your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

When you or I are immersed in enjoying someone else’s creative work, we know that it represents the vision of that creator. It shares her or his life, ideas, viewpoints, and culture. But, as a viewer or listener, it’s easy to forget that creativity is about more than just representation.

When you’re the creator, it’s easy to be focused on the end result—the accomplishment. Usually, when you do that, you start to dislike the struggle and messiness that can be the creative process. In those moments, I believe that it helps to remember the value in meaning-making for wellbeing.

The psychologist Michael F. Steger studies how meaning-making contributes to wellbeing. His research shows that people “who have a sense of meaning in life, also report feeling more happy, more satisfied with their lives, less depressed and anxious, and more satisfied with their jobs.”

Now, creativity isn’t the only way to create meaning in life. As Dr. Eric Maisel writes, you can create meaning opportunities through love, good works, (the pursuit of) excellence, relationships, stewardship, experimentation, pleasure, self-actualization, and so much more. You already make meaning of your life in a variety of ways. But, if you have the persistent urge to create—and you’re not, or you’re doing so in a fitful way— you may be ready to give creativity the weight it deserves in your life. 

Why It Helps to Keep Meaning-Making in Mind

With this big-picture benefit in mind, attempting to create (AKA the search for meaning) is enough! Of course, it’s a beautiful thing to follow through and bring your ideas into form. But, when you know that the process is enough, that it serves a purpose, you can relax into the creative process a little more. And that makes you less likely to get sidetracked by our own creative anxieties. You can spend time and energy creating, instead of busying yourself with learning productivity tips, ruminating over your unhealthy habits, and compulsively seeking the education and resources you think you need to create truly great work. Honestly, the follow-through becomes easier!

It’s a mindset shift that gives you your power back. If the point is meaning-making, you can never be a creative imposter or a fraud. You’re just another person making her or his own meaning, a right we all have!

It also helps you avoid the rising (sales) pitch of solutions. When you struggle with the creative process, you can seek help from businesses and consultants that prey upon your sense of not-enoughness, perfectionism, or fears (of overwhelm, visibility, failure, success, hard work, others’ opinions, and not living up to your own potential). True mentors, teachers, and coaches teach you that you are enough already, and help you shed the mindsets that cloud your thinking.

When you remember that you’re making meaning, you trust your own creative voice. You envision your creative work through a positive lens and, usually, that leads to a wellspring of authentic creativity.

2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct - createintandem.com

You can choose to devote your creativity to this higher good. You can shed the excuses about how your situations and experiences aren’t conducive to your dreams, and stop procrastinating. You can take responsibility for your own meaning-making in art, business, volunteering, activism, parenting, work, and play. 

Your creative process can benefit from many tips and approaches, such as learning to take small action steps, connecting with support people, and working on your self-talk. But, it’s important to engage with this foundation, this big-picture value of creative meaning-making for wellbeing. It gives vitality to your creative work through the gifts of comprehension (of yourself and of the world around you) and a sense of purpose.

Start today with this mantra—creativity is meaning-making for wellbeing—and we’ll keep this conversation going…

Share a Comment: What do you see as creativity’s greatest benefit?

Tackle your creative pursuits this year. Get In Tandem’s monthly notes on creativity + wellbeing: 

Photo Credits: Table scene from Kaboompics and Polaraids by Nitish Meena via Unsplash.

19 thoughts on “2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct

  1. Creativity’s biggest benefit for me is the way that it makes me explode with excitement! When I’m working on a particularly interesting creative project, and I have one of those bursts of inspiration, it’s a rush that can’t be beat. I crave that feeling, so it makes my creative time very precious to me.

  2. Being creative – mainly knitting, for me – is my way of releasing the everyday stress of “adulting”. I’ve found that I can escape to a peaceful place with the simplest of projects + find my happy place.

    I don’t know if it’s true for others, but I’ve also found I get my best ideas when I am working on another creative project. I am able to free my mind of everything else for just an hour + find myself getting ideas for other designs or solutions to some of my troubles. It’s very therapeutic.

    1. Hi, Kelly, thanks for sharing so thoughtfully! Yes, I love how the simplest projects can be the most peaceful.

      It is fascinating and true that fresh ideas and new therapeutic benefits can arise when we’re working on another creative project. Thanks for sharing this with everyone; it’s such food for thought!

  3. Creativity’s greatest benefit for me is flow… It’s when I am creative that I really experience flow and that’s when I do my best work. Putting it out there is the scary part, creating is just so much fun!

  4. Creativity and productivity go hand in hand for me, with a great sense of accomplishment. I find it can be small things that get my creative juices flowing. . .but the vibe takes hold and I get so much done!

  5. I love this Julie! I am going to take on this mantra from now on for my creative pursuits. Especially when I get caught up in the end result. 🙂

  6. I think one of the biggest benefits I get from my creativity right now is that it is helping me to create (ha!) a life of meaning that reflects my personal values.

    I had a serious aha moment when I read this “It also helps you avoid the rising (sales) pitch of solutions. When you struggle with the creative process, you can seek help from businesses and consultants that prey upon your sense of not-enoughness, perfectionism, or fears (of overwhelm, visibility, failure, success, hard work, others’ opinions, and not living up to your own potential). True mentors, teachers, and coaches teach you that you are enough already, and help you shed the mindsets that cloud your thinking.”

    It explains while some sales pitches I come across feel icky to me. I think it will also help me to refer back to this when developing my own programs. I absolutely do not want to prey on people’s fears or feelings of not-enoughness (love that term!)

    1. Hi, Francine, I love your self-awareness about how your creativity reflects your personal values. I also loved your “On Being a Mindful Mama” post! Mindfulness is one of my core goals.

      I absolutely believe that our cultures need to teach women that they are enough. So many of us do so much, yet still feel like we’re failing (I struggled with this yesterday. I didn’t meet my writing goals, but I worked my dayjob supporting women, helped with preschool tasks, and so much more!). The problems are the cultural and self-imposed standards, not our inability to meet them. They’re simply unrealistic. So, I think the tone that teachers use is important. We can learn new things AND start from a place of enoughness.

  7. Creativity is often a way-marker for me; if I feel my heart tugging me a certain way, I try to pay attention and get curious about it. A lovely post 🙂

  8. It’s just recently in the last few years that I’ve really seen myself as creative. In the last year as I stepped into it even further with writing, etc. it’s definitley pushed me into some unknowns. When I hold on too tight I’m not trusting, when I let go…that’s when the magic happens. Thank you Julie! =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *