Life Notes: Creativity + Variety = Productivity?
by Erin Rockett, NCC, LPC, LMFT

Have you ever paused amidst a frantic day to watch children play? The demonstration of boundless energy and creativity is utterly amazing. Chairs become cars, logs – houses, etc. Play can continue for hours with imagination the only limit for new adventures.

On approaching adulthood, our ability to generate new experiences declines, perhaps due to rigidly structured educational systems and adult responsibilities. However, research shows that the most productive and mentally agile seniors maintain involvement in a variety of activities, both physical and mental. Just as athletes cross-train muscle groups for maximum performance, the brain benefits from cross-training through participation in a range of activities. Here are some examples to demonstrate this principle:

National sampling of school district test performance indicated a trend of higher test scores in districts which included art and music in their curriculum.

Students listening to classical music during testing demonstrated slight increases in average test scores.

Interviews with numerous successful CEO’s revealed that their greatest problem-solving moments transpired during non-business related activities, such as cooking or building furniture.

Cognitive functioning and activity levels of adults in assisted living seem to improve with daily recreation, particularly that which utilizes music and cultural events from their adolescence.

Lost memory events may be recalled when the trigger of certain scents, textures, or sounds are experienced in one’s environment.

Studies demonstrated that adults participating in physical activity requiring coordination, such as ballroom dancing, along with mentally challenging tasks like crossword completion, maintain overall greater brain functioning than their non-active peers.

Next time you sit next to children at the kitchen table, join them for a creative session. Cut, paste, and color to your heart’s content, because it has long term benefits for you and your child. Remember, please color OUTSIDE the lines. It’s good for you!

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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