Purple: The Colour of Creativity

| Bringing colour back to 2021

Two black lady friends taking selfies


Purple: The Colour of Creativity

Welcome to the sixth post in our Colours Campaign, a special series about harnessing the transformative power of colour. This time, we’re diving into PURPLE, a hue that’s associated with sophistication, drama, luxury and royalty – talk about a power colour! Most often, though, purple is linked to creativity. Here’s how to get your creative juices flowing.

Creativity for life

Kids are naturally creative and curious. If you’ve ever watched children fingerpaint, play dress-up or create scenes with action figures, you’ve seen their imaginations at play. While some people think that we lose creativity as we get grow up – including Albert Einstein, who worried that formal education quashes curiosity – there’s no reason why we can’t keep creating throughout our lives.

There’s no expiry date on creativity. In fact, the average age at which people develop “notable inventions and ideas” has increased steadily over the last century, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States. In addition, more older adults are becoming inventors, coming up with solutions for the day-to-day challenges of aging, The New York Times reported in 2015. (For a deeper look at creativity in later life, check out The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father, and Me by Canadian author Emily Urquhart, published in 2020.)

5 ways to cultivate creativity

You may have heard the common belief that some people are “left-brained” and others are “right-brained.” The left brain is logical, analytical and intellectual, while the right brain is intuitive, emotional and creative – and the theory is that each of us has a dominant side.

Within the past decade, however, scientific research has found that the brain doesn’t favour one side or the other. We routinely get input from both sides for a wide range of tasks and activities – including math, music and learning languages. So if you’ve always thought of yourself as left-brained and uncreative, take heart – creativity draws on both sides of the brain. Not only that, but creativity can be learned.

Try these strategies to boost your everyday creativity:

  1. Learn something new.
    It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby or skill. Lifelong learning offers many benefits: it helps your brain stay healthy, it connects you to other people, and it helps you feel happier, more confident and more fulfilled. You may even discover a talent you didn’t know you had!
  2. Spend more time outdoors.We’ve posted before about the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. It turns out that outdoor time is good for creativity, too. The mental unburdening that we feel when we’re surrounded by nature helps to restore our cognitive resources and encourage an open mind. (It also helps to be free of distractions, such as smartphones and other gadgets.)
  3. Get physically and socially active.Exercise promotes neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt and form new connections – and that helps us stay sharp as we age. Social activity is also important for brain health. It’s been well documented that loneliness and social isolation can have a negative impact on cognitive health and increase the risk of dementia. Connect with friends new and old to stay engaged.
  4. Take inspiration from creative people.Learning about the creative pursuits of others can spark new ideas in ourselves. Whether you’re interested in music, art, literature, film, science or other topics, you can find fascinating people and creations to explore. Start with your local library, art gallery, museum and other cultural and educational venues, or explore a wide range of inspiring images and videos online.
  5. Listen to your ideas. Are you dismissing your own ideas before they have a chance to grow? If you’ve thought of yourself as uncreative for years – or, worse, if someone has told you so – you might not give your imagination enough credit. Instead of shutting down your ideas right away, give yourself the permission to think more deeply about the possibilities. Write down your ideas, sketch them out and see where they take you.

How will you explore your creativity?