While exercise and fitness has often been hailed as incredibly beneficial for our mental health, it seems there are other types of hobbies that can have a positive impact on our minds.


Creative hobbies like painting or writing can help increase our emotional wellbeing, according to new research.


Monitoring the daily journals of over 650 people, researchers from the Department of Psychology at New Zealand’s University of Otago found a direct link between creative activities and an improved sense of wellness.


“There is growing recognition in psychology research that creativity is associated with emotional functioning,” said the lead author behind the study, Dr Tamlin Conner.


“However, most of this work focuses on how emotions benefit or hamper creativity, not whether creativity benefits or hampers emotional wellbeing.


“Our latest findings show that creative activity today predicts wellbeing tomorrow.”



So, what hobbies should we be taking up to encourage wellness?


Well, the research found that the most common examples reported were song writing, creative writing, knitting and crochet, cooking, painting, drawing, and sketching.


This latest research supports other studies which have said creative activities can lead to an “upward spiral” of increased wellbeing.


Now while you may not class yourself as a creative person, you’d be surprise what you can come up with when in the right situation.


Go for a walk

While this is also a good form of exercise – which is also great for your mental health – it can also help get the creative juices flowing.


A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that people who regularly went for walks had significantly higher levels of creativity.



Some call it meditation, others call it daydreaming; whatever it is that lets your mind escape for ten minutes, do it.


Letting your mind wander can allow your creative self to come into play.



Public workspace

If you can be flexible with work, why not head to your local library or coffee shop?


Studies have found that background noise at the right level can unlock a serious amount of creativity.



If all else fails, why not sign up for a creative class?


Whether it’s pottery making or watercolour painting, pick something way outside your comfort zone and reap all the benefits from your bravery.