Channeling Depression Into a Powerful Tool for Creativity | Mental Health & Emotional Wellness |

Decades of research have found that introversion, emotional sensitivity, and vulnerability to negativity—seeing the glass as half empty—are all common personality traits of highly creative people. They are also common symptoms of depression. In fact, artists and writers are eight to ten times as likely as the general population to suffer from mood disorders. Many studies speculate that this is because artists tend to examine their lives more deeply than the average person and that they draw on unpleasant experiences to feed their work.


“Creative people might be more likely to experience negative emotions,” says Wendy Berry Mendes, the Sarlo/Ekman associate professor of emotion at the University of California, San Francisco, who conducted a study while at Harvard University to look at how mood change can affect creativity. In one study, researchers measured levels of DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), a hormone that when at lower-than-normal levels is associated with depression, before people received either harsh negative criticism or positive feedback in a mock job interview. Then the subjects were assigned a creative task. “Receiving negative compared to positive feedback was associated with enhanced creativity,” says Berry Mendes. “This was especially the case for individuals who had lower levels of DHEAS,” indicating they were predisposed to depression.

Via Pamir Kiciman