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The Creative Corner: Creativity is a boon to your wellbeing

Participation in creative activities with others or even alone, improves feelings of loneliness which is associated with a variety of health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

A blue background with the text reading, "Norman's Creative Corner, Lead for Minnesota fellow" and a picture of a woman.
Monthly column from Lillian Norman, Lead for Minnesota fellow serving the city of Wadena.
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In last month’s column, I focused on the economic benefits of constructing a Creative Community Plan, of which there are many, but economic benefits are not the only boons that creativity, art, culture, and nature brings to a community.

Some of you may be surprised to learn that expressions of creativity enhance your life in multiple ways, not just through aesthetic improvements to an area or through events to go to in the evening. Firstly, participating in creative activities can improve your health. In fact, almost half, 43%, of frontline clinical staff believe that the arts have a positive effect on healing. Additionally, youth participating in a theater program had an increase of 45% in their reported health, and not only that, but participation in creative activities with others or even alone, improves feelings of loneliness which is associated with a variety of health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

Not worried about your health? Well, creativity also impacts the community as a whole. Volunteerism, something that is said to be the very lifeblood of a town’s vibrancy, is improved through having more creativity around. Those who participate in artistic or cultural activities are twice as likely to volunteer in their communities, which is not only great for any organizations looking for civically-minded individuals, but also great for improving the livability of a town. Moreover, research shows that by collaborating on art-making and beautification efforts that benefit a shared neighborhood, residents can increase feelings of trust and appreciation of each other.

Like before when talking about the economic benefits, there is not enough room in this singular column to completely expound on all of the various ways that infusing Wadena with even more creativity will improve the area and its residents’ lives. And of course, the economic and social benefits are intertwined, and often when it comes to planning for creativity, when you are aiming to gain one benefit, either on accident or intentionally, you gain so many more.

Creativity can be utilized in so many different ways. It is a powerful multitool that can be used in community development, science, youth education, transportation, the environment, housing, health, and many more places. It is something we all use, young and old, and something we all appreciate and enjoy, since it takes such a vast amount of forms.

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I will end this column the same way I ended the preceding one: the first step towards investing in the creativity of the town is creating a plan of how to do it. Constructing a Creative Community Plan for Wadena will provide the necessary strategy and community engagement to establish the foundation for the town’s vibrant, creative, and community-owned future.

Lillian Norman is a fellow with Lead for Minnesota serving the city of Wadena on artisan economic development. Email her at norma385@umn.edu.

Related Topics: WADENAART
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