How Creative Routines Improve Your Health and Well-Being

How Creative Routines Improve Your Health and Well-Being

Smoking, jogging, stress eating, meditating — daily routines play a big role in overall health and well-being. But should creative routines also be on that list? Several studies suggest that creative work and creativity, at a minimum, can boost mental health while others argue that art has a physiological effect on the body. But before you swap the broccoli for chocolate and a paintbrush, how, exactly, does creating something affect your overall health? And are creative people more productive?

Many of the 20th century studies on creativity and health (and insights from authors like Mason Currey and Maya Angelou, artists like Beethoven or Mozart and scientists like Benjamin Franklin) stress a growing number of evidence-backed ways that show our health improves as we create. Like other health-boosting activities, many of the studies suggest that repeated creativity creates the biggest benefit. So how do creative daily rituals boost your health? Here are seven research-suggested reasons.

Creativity can decrease depression.

A growing amount of research focuses on the role creativity plays in psychological well-being, rather than physical health. As studies started to suggest a relationship between creativity and health, two researchers decided to look at 100 existing studies to put it all together. One of the several distinctions from the research, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2010, was that the studies suggested participating in visual arts from pottery to photography to help reduce depression.

The study suggested that daily creative routines could help with the depression that’s often associated with long-term or serious illnesses. But further research points to creativity as staving off negative emotions even for healthy individuals. If you’ve ever felt a creative high after creating something after work or at your day job, you know creativity can help boost positive emotions and keep the negative ones at bay.


Ready to add more creativity into your life? Join the 11K people who’ve taken Tabatha Coffey’s class to get in touch with their true selves.


Creativity can reduce your body’s response to stress.

Adding creativity to our everyday lives can reduce stress and anxiety, too. Engaging in something creative can have a result similar to meditation by triggering the brain into creating more dopamine, a chemical in the brain that’s believed to be responsible for heightened excitement and productivity. This helps put us in a calmer, deeper state.

Creativity can help boost your immune system.

The effects of creativity aren’t solely in the brain. Creative daily routines are also good for the immune system.

In one study of immune-compromised HIV patients, researchers found that participants that engaged in emotional writing had increased levels of lymphocytes. The test suggested that creativity can have a physical effect on our bodies, too.

Creativity can (sometimes) encourage fitness.

Not all creativity encourages a sedentary lifestyle behind a desk or easel. Some creative routines can boost health by encouraging more physical activity. Dance, long walks (or vigorous walks), for example, are an excellent example of a form of creativity that encourages physical health. Long walks aren’t the only daily rituals that can get you moving, however, with other types of creativity inadvertently encouraging exercise. Nature photography can encourage hiking, too. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, find some time to incorporate creative routines to your day and increase your heart rate!

Creativity decreases the risks of cognitive impairment as you age.

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.

The catch? Health can also boost creativity.

Creativity can help reduce stress and depression while boosting the immune system and decreasing other health risks. But the role between health and creativity goes both ways. While creativity itself can help boost dopamine, research suggests creative moments come from a blend of dopamine and serotonin while stress hormones can reduce creativity.

That means that, while creativity is healthy, other healthy habits can, in turn, boost your creativity. Habits like getting enough sleep, regular exercise and a healthy diet (think more protein and fewer carbs) can help boost creativity. With healthy daily routines boosting creativity and creativity boosting health, creativity and health exist hand in hand. Healthy habits, both in the traditional sense and the creative one, can support that cycle.

You don’t have to look to famous creative people to prove that creativity is a healthy habit. Engaging in regular creative routines, from photography to adult coloring books, can help reduce stress and depression, delay cognitive impairment and even aid in fighting some health conditions.


Ready to add more creativity into your life? Join the 11K people who’ve taken Tabatha Coffey’s class to get in touch with their true selves.


The post How Creative Routines Improve Your Health and Well-Being appeared first on CreativeLive Blog.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.creativelive.com

View the Original Article

Veterans Day, Every Day

Veterans Day, Every Day

Stacy Pearsall is the creator of Veterans Portrait Project.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the “War to End All Wars” was at an end. The year was 1918 and The Great War was declared over. Americans recognized the date as Armistice Day and celebrated world peace while also honoring veterans who fought in WWI. After WWII and the Korean War, Veterans replaced the word Armistice, and Americans began to observe the designated day as we know it today, Veterans Day. It’s a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall


Want to capture authentic emotion in portraits? RSVP to learn how from Stacy Pearsall.


As you may know from my Starting a Personal Project keynote, I began the Veterans Portrait Project while I recovered from combat injuries I’d sustained in Iraq as an Air Force combat photographer. My head was filled with negative words like “can’t,” “shouldn’t,” “restricted.” I felt alienated, helpless and alone. The life I knew and loved seemed to vanish overnight, and all I was left with was a pain-in-the-neck – literally and figuratively. A fellow veteran, who’d fought in WWII, was the inspiration I needed to take up the camera again. I felt his story, like so many other veterans I’d met in the waiting rooms of the VA hospital, was compelling and important to share. Moreover, I wanted him to know that I was thankful for his service and sacrifice. The best way I could demonstrate my appreciation was through my photography.

A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall

I didn’t have much in terms of professional equipment, or lighting skills, but I figured it wouldn’t matter to the veterans. After all, the gesture was more important than the imagery. With a clear objective in mind, I worked with the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s public affairs office to arrange some portrait sessions. I set up my little makeshift studio, comprised of three Nikon Speedlights on flash shoe Spring Clamps and stands, in the common areas and photographed fellow veterans who were waiting for the medical appointments.

Stacy Pearsall is the creator of Veterans Portrait Project.

credit: Stacy Pearsall

With each veteran I met, I was struck by how similar our experiences were. It didn’t matter they were 40, 50, 60 years older than me. Through hearing their stories, I felt validated. I wasn’t alone after all. They too grappled with their experiences, and often expressed feeling the same emotions. I didn’t realize it at first but while providing empathy and compassion for them, they were healing me in return.

A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall

A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall

I set a goal that I would photograph veterans in every state and province from which the United States recruits military members. I figured that would take a lifetime. Thus far, I’ve traveled to 27 states and photographed several thousand veterans.

A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall

A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall


Want to capture authentic emotion in portraits? RSVP to learn how from Stacy Pearsall.


A portrait from Veterans Portrait Project by Stacy Pearsall.

credit: Stacy Pearsall

Over the course of my Project, I acquired more equipment, refined my lighting techniques and raised awareness about veterans’ issues. Most importantly, I learned more about human nature and myself. The Veterans Portrait Project has been a journey of discovery, healing and growth for me – a truly personal project.

From the first veteran’s portrait I took in 2008 to the veteran’s portrait I took yesterday, they all mean something deeply personal to me. When standing in front of my brothers and sisters, I’m reminded that Veterans Day isn’t one day a year. Because it’s a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their service and sacrifice, for me, every day is Veterans Day!


Want to capture authentic emotion in portraits? RSVP to learn how from Stacy Pearsall.


The post Veterans Day, Every Day appeared first on CreativeLive Blog.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.creativelive.com

View the Original Article

The Cure for a Blank Canvas: How to Get Creative with Adobe Stock Illustrations

The Cure for a Blank Canvas: How to Get Creative with Adobe Stock Illustrations

Staring at a blank canvas is one of the hardest parts of beginning a new project. Whether you need inspiration or a ready-made solution—Adobe Stock makes the fear of a blank canvas disappear with a single click.

Adobe Stock offers thousands of possibilities in a matter of seconds, whether you’re searching for photos, vector illustrations, video, templates, or 3D renderings. Adobe even goes as far as to provide you with navigation options, online at AdobeStock, or within Adobe Applications like Illustrator, where you can search and license assets from right within the Libraries Panel (Window>Libraries).

Design Assets

Design assets are the unique artistic components that come together to support your project. These could be anything from watercolor bees to abstract shapes and patterns.  As designers, we’re in constant need of assets to bring a project to life and unless you have the time to complete them all from scratch Adobe Stock will serve as a useful asset.


Learn how to navigate the Adobe Stock platform and use Adobe Illustrator to quickly and easily customize stock vector files for your projects.


Let’s say you’re working on a project and you’ve chosen a watercolor theme—but you’re not a painter. From the ‘Libraries’ panel in Illustrator, you can simply type “Watercolor” into the search bar to instantly find ideas and assets to make your project a reality. To narrow down the results to vectors specifically, expand the option next to “Results from Adobe Stock” and click to select ‘Vectors.’

The best part is that when you find something you love but it doesn’t quite fit your project (wrong color, etc.) — you can easily change it in Illustrator, customizing it exactly as you see fit.

You can get specific with your search, too. Let’s say your watercolor project is about bees. If you type “watercolor bee” into the search bar, you will find that someone has already created a variety of watercolor bees for you to choose from. How cool is that?

If you’re having a hard time deciding which file(s) you want to license, it’s easy to drag a free comp into your document to use for placement and testing. (The comp is a low-res JPEG, so while you won’t be able to edit it as a vector until you actually license the file, it’s still very helpful for composition and layout.)

A Creative Jump Start

In addition to simple assets like watercolor design elements, you can find entire concepts ready to use (and customize) in whatever ways you need.


Learn how to navigate the Adobe Stock platform and use Adobe Illustrator to quickly and easily customize stock vector files for your projects.


In my course, we’ll be using a collection of Paris themed assets from a single file to build a menu for a restaurant. We’ll juggle around the different design elements, changing their size and in some cases, their color. In this way, the original design is repurposed for a specific design need. This is a  simple way to incorporate design elements in your project even if your illustration skills are below average.

All-in-One Solutions

Looking for a ready-made wedding invitation? A simple search for “wedding invitation” brings up a number of different templates, each one ready to print with just a simple edit to the specific details. Simply license an invitation file, swap out  the information for your own, and print!

Become a Contributor

“Who? Me?!” You ask. Yes, you! Even if you don’t know a stroke from a fill, or a vector from a pile of pixels, I’ll show you how easy it is to create a simple, seamless pattern and how to upload to Adobe Stock—which could actually earn you real money.


Learn how to navigate the Adobe Stock platform and use Adobe Illustrator to quickly and easily customize stock vector files for your projects.


The post The Cure for a Blank Canvas: How to Get Creative with Adobe Stock Illustrations appeared first on CreativeLive Blog.

————

The content for this post was sourced from www.creativelive.com

View the Original Article