tvořivě sebevědomý blog
It makes me very happy to follow the UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center online course “The Science of Happiness”. As other courses I have taken on Coursera, EdX or Novoed, I find the experience inspiring, informative and entertaining.
The course also clarified for me the interesting links between happiness and creativity, there seems to be a virtuous cycle between happiness and creativity.
There are dozens of studies proving that happiness and positive emotions make you more creative and innovative at work. Studies by Alice Isen and Barb Fredrikson show that when I am in a state in positive emotion, I become more creative. In their experiments, people who are given a bag of candy or shown a few minutes of a comedy film perform better on creative tasks and have more ideas about what to do next. Interesting work was done with doctors making better medical decisions, being better at integrating the complex information of an unsolved case when they're given a bag of candy - which when you think of it, is a really small positive emotion induction.
In the interviews I am conducting with people about their own creativity, the same pattern emerges - when people remember the conditions which made it possible for them to be creative, they talk about happy periods and moments in their lifes.
At the same time, being creative is the sort of activity that makes us happier. I am writing this on a train to Berlin right now, and as I look around at my fellow passengers, I wonder: “why are some happier than others?”
Researchers in the field of positive psychology have been studying this and have come up with some approximate answers. So, Sonja Lyubomirsky (LINK) explains that fifty percent (50%) of the variance in happiness is due to our genes, about ten percent (10%) lies in our life circumstances, being richer, poorer, more or less attractive, more or less healthy. And that leaves forty percent (40%) of happiness (and again, that number shouldn't be set in stone, but quite a large number that is under our control, under our power to change. So: how do we harness that forty percent (40%)?
Creativity might be part of the answer. I am not quite sure how many percent (and probably - maybe fortunately - we will never be sure), but there are definitely elements that contribute to happiness. Let me list the most important ones
1) Focused states lead to happiness - again and again, my colleagues mention in their interviews how much pleasure they derive from a "flow" state (as famously defined by Mihaly C ) who first studied artists. I liked the description of one of my respondents, who likened it to being in a jaccuzi.
2) Self-expression leads to happiness through meaning - recently, Roy Baumaster from Florida State University has published a controversial paper trying to disentangle what makes our lives happy and what makes them meaningful. This is a slightly complicated debate trying to separate the "pleasure happiness" from the "meaningful happiness". However, usually, the both are linked and go hand in hand.
Part of his conclusions, as described by Jill Suttie and Jason Marsh (LINK) are that Self-expression is important to meaning but not happiness. Doing things to express oneself and caring about personal and cultural identity were linked to a meaningful life but not a happy one. For example, considering oneself to be wise or creative was associated with meaning but not happiness.
3) Sense of achievement leads to happiness - researchers find that students who do have sense
of achievement both academically and socially rate themselves as happier and as having higher levels of subjective well being. Many of the people I speak to describe the sense of achievement about their creative projects - independently from any external praise or success, “just” the sense of completing a project brings pleasure.
4) Community - many of my respondents mention their creativity as part of a group of like minded inviduals. and that is the part that makes most sense to them.
What about you? What about being creative makes you happy?
Eva Blechová facilituje, koučuje, napsala několik rozhlasových her a jednu disertaci. V současné době zkoumá tvořivost a tvořivé sebevědomí. Před tím vším vedla týmy jako Ředitelka kabinetu na Ministerstvu zahraničí a byla strategický konzultant v McKinsey & Co.
o blogu/about the blog
Původně (v roce 2014) jsem psala blog (anglicky) jako sebe-povzbuzení pro psaní disertace. Teď (2017) píšu jako sebe-povzbuzení pro eventuální přetvoření disertace na knihu/pamflet/kurz/něco.