If you spend your downtime knitting, baking, or drawing, we have some great news: Researchers say that participating in traditional arts and crafts activities are not only great ways to pass the time, but they’re also natural mood boosters.
The study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, was conducted at Otago University in New Zealand, where 658 students were asked to keep diaries over the span of 13 days. The students kept track of their daily activities and documented their emotional states.
According to Dr. Tamlin Connor, the study’s lead author, participants who engaged in creative activities were more enthusiastic and generally felt better the next day. And, as predicted, those feelings of well-being inspired even more creativity on the same day.
Even more fascinating? The study found that people who engaged in regular arts and crafts exhibited what psychologists call “flourishing”—a process of internal growth and purpose.
While the role emotions play in creative output is pretty obvious (case in point, every Taylor Swift album EVER), Dr. Connor says there isn’t much research on how creativity affects emotional well-being. But his results couldn’t be more clear: “Overall, these findings support the emerging emphasis on everyday creativity as a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”
Now’s the time to get started on all those DIY projects you were putting off!