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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Creativity, Happiness and Your Own Two Hands | Carrie Barron, Psychology Today

Barron's article begins by noting that purposeful hand use enhances well-being in a technologically saturated culture:
Research has shown that hand activity from knitting to woodworking to growing vegetables or chopping them are useful for decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, and modifying depression. There is value in the routine action, the mind rest, and the purposeful creative, domestic or practical endeavor.
No surprise there, as Dr. Kelly Lambert confirmed in her research on the relationship between hand use, current cultural habits, and mood. Barron writes:
She found that hands-on work satisfies our primal need to make things and could also be an antidote for our cultural malaise. Too much time on technological devices and the fact that we buy almost all of what we need rather than having to make it has deprived us of processes that provide pleasure, meaning and pride
That's good stuff, but what I liked most about this article is what the research found about the relationship between hand use and creativity. Barron writes:
Creativity is a powerful tool for altering the inner life because making things or transforming inner states into outer productions fosters solace and satisfaction, even if the stimulus arose from an injury.
She explains that creating things turns fragmentation and tumult into focused drive. And order arises from that disorder ... in a creative way. And when a person creates his or her order -- instead of it being imposed -- the result is "a special peace or feeling of resolution." And that can lead to still more creativity!

As stated by D.W. Winnicott, a psychoanalyst, pediatrician and creativity expert:
It is creative apperception more than anything else that makes the individual feel that life is worth living.
(I just learned a new word for me, apperception. It's the process of understanding in which newly observed qualities of an object are related to past experience. In other words, it's the process of perceiving a new experience in relation to past experience.)

For more information on this topic, check out Garbl's Creativity Resources Online.

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