“There is a fountain of youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring in your life and the lives of people you love.” – Sophia Loren
At age 77, Academy Award winning actress Sophia Loren still shines with the energy and enthusiasm of someone half her age. What’s her secret? Could her words hold the key to her ability to retain her joy de vivre well into her 70’s?
Studies have shown that people who remain engaged in some type of creative endeavor, whether it be art, music, gardening, cooking, writing, photography, needlework or other creatively satisfying pursuits enjoy a variety of health benefits throughout their lives.
"The most important finding is that creative activity helps people stay healthy," says author John Mirowsky, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "Creative activity is non-routine, enjoyable and provides opportunity for learning and for solving problems. People who do that kind of work, whether paid or not, feel healthier and have fewer physical problems." (1) Creative work and health. Mirowsky, J., Ross, C. E., Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2007 Dec;48(4):385-403
History is filled with examples of people who accomplished some of their best creative work later in life. Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lens at the age of 78, Frank Lloyd Wright completed the design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York at 92, and Maya Angelou is still an amazing creative at the age of 83. Consider Georgia O’Keeffe who painted into her mid-80’s. When her eyesight began to fail her, she started working in clay so she could keep creating.
Of course, you don’t have to be a famous inventor, artist or poet to enjoy the benefits of the creative process. Simply allowing some time and space in your life for creative fulfillment is beneficial. If you’d like to experience more creativity in your life consider hiring a coach, taking a class, or joining a group that shares your creative interests. At the very least you’ll add a healthy dose of joy to your life and possibly some additional years.
Jill Allison Bryan is a certified Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach, founder of Creative Oasis Coaching ™ and a singer/songwriter. You can learn more about Jill’s creativity coaching and music at www.CreativeOasisCoaching.com