Exercise and diet are the quintessential factors contributing to good health and prolonged life. They may have some company, after a study found that creativity is another factor that does the body good.

Fast Company’s Co.Exist channel reports that:

In a study of 1,349 older male veterans, creativity—serving as an indication of openness, the willingness to try new things and accept new ideas—seems to have predicted a longer lifespan. The Journal of Aging and Health study, which followed the men over the course of 18 years (but did not include any women), found that creative thinking may have led to a 12% reduction in mortality risk. . . . In other words, creative activities may act as exercises that keep the brain fit. People who exhibit creativity also seem to cope with stress better, finding solutions to stressful situations rather than being overwhelmed by them.

Considering we have been made in the image of our Creator God, it doesn’t surprise me that mimicking His behavior would be good for us. As a writer, I have found that creativity begets creativity—the more I work at the creative process, the more the creative ideas flow. This gives me hope when I face writer’s block or a work-related challenge; I trust that just because I don’t see a solution to my dilemma at the moment, other options will eventually surface as I keep at it. This reduces my stress and keeps me looking ahead for what’s next. This mindset is needed as we age, because it’s easy to think we’ve seen and heard it all. If solutions to challenges aren’t readily obvious and we aren’t open to new ideas, then stress increases because we think we know it all and there is no solution as far as we can tell.

Our Creator God spoke life into being at the beginning of the world, making us as creative beings in His own image. When we follow His lead and exercise our own creativity, we see similar results. Whether your creativity is artistic or organizational or technical, keep at it. You may find more years ahead of you because of it.