Personal Creativity and the Aging Brain

personal creativity

Is it possible to maintain personal creativity as we age, or is creativity destined to decline along with muscle mass, memory, or cardiovascular capacity? Evidence points to the fact that exercising personal creativity can actually help the brain age successfully and keep the mind in top condition.

According to a scientific study by psychologists Anne Basting and Susan McFadden, “What's good for the person is usually good for the brain.” They noted that an older person who has a strong social network has a less cognitive decline as well as greater resistance to disease or infection. The greater the variety of social activities involving different any friends, the better the chance that a wider variety of brain-enriching activities are taking place.

Exercising Personal Creativity

Leisure activities that engage the brain can also help keep the mind functioning well into later years. Tasks that involve analyzing and integrating information such as chess, bridge or playing a musical instrument can help keep the brain sharp.

Creativity involves the flexibility to shift focus and being open to new ideas and change. Creative older artists and musicians such as Grandma Moses, Picasso, and Tony Bennett have successfully maintained their creative abilities late in life. In 2008, an Italian researcher studied six creative older adults and found a common thread of flexibility and a passionate commitment to their avocation. They also shared a healthy curiosity about new experiences and rather than dwelling on the past, looked forward to new creative goals in the future.

You don’t have to be an artist or creative genius to take advantage of the benefits of personal creativity. Coming up with a twist to a favorite family recipe, writing poetry for the grandchildren, or a personal narrative of your life history can spark creativity.

With an open mind and some mental exercise to keep the creative flame burning, the challenges of aging can be minimized and you can enjoy a healthy brain and fulfilling creative life.

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