Happiness is related to a stronger immune system, better cardiovasular health, reduced pain, better sleep, higher performance in general, and surprisingly, creativity. I’ve personally always be prone to the belief that miserable people tend to be more creative and intelligent. However, studies don’t support either one of those. IQ has minimal affect on happiness, and as stated before, happiness actually improves creativity (Gilovich, 2015). So why do those stereotypes exist? And why does it matter for us?
First off, we think creativity and intelligence is related to misery because throughout history, some of the most depressed people have been the most intelligent and creative. You think of people like Mozart, Van Gogh, and Hemmingway. In fact, it would be too simplistic for me to say that happiness is the only way to be creative; there is a connection afterall, between mental illness and creativity (Adams, 2014). However, the key here is that you don’t have to be miserable to be creative. As Adams talks about, mental illnesses can make a person take in more information, which leads to stranger associations and more flexible thinking. Happiness can help do the same thing, without the horrible side affects.
We can learn to be more happy by being more grateful, by surrounding ourselves with social connections, by giving more than we recieve, and meditating (Gilovich, 2015). Being happy doesn’t “cost” intelligence and creativity. The only thing holding us back is oursleves.
Adams, W. L. (2014, January 22). The dark side of. creativity: Depression anxiety x madness = genius? Retrieved September 24, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/22/world/the-dark-side-of-creativity-vincent-van-gogh/index.html
- Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (2011). Social psychology. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.