An important question. Regardless of your career or however you spend the majority of your time in a 24-hour day. Creative expression is crucial for self-discovery, self-expression, inspiration, problem-solving, innovation, and openness.
And openness, defined as being mentally and emotionally unobstructed or unrestricted, is key here because it is with this availability that we are free to be creative.
And when we are creative, we live longer. Actually, and there’s science to prove it.
A study published in the Journal of Aging and Health concluded that greater degrees of openness and creativity predicted a longer life. There are many theories as to how creativity actually effects the neurological circuitry of the brain on a physiological level, but it appears creativity enables us to approach problems more positively and as a challenge (who doesn’t like solving a problem?), rather than something that cannot be overcome.
So, when my friend asked me, “What did you do as a kid to express your creativity?” I felt it. I felt the gravity of his question, even if he wasn’t intending to spark a philosophical, intellectual, and psychological discussion in return.
Then, of course, we think about the possible benefits of creativity for veterinary medicine. How do we, as veterinarians, express our creativity on the job? If not at work, how do we express our creativity once our white coats and stethoscopes are left at the front door? Are we still expressing our creativity now as we did when we were kids?
I sure hope so, but if not, now is the time for a small shift in perspective because reduced stress and a functioning brain will make us ever better veterinarians. So, get those crayons and glitter out and get creative!