The research from the University of Otago in New Zealand took a cohort of young people who recorded a daily diary of their experiences and emotional states over 13 days. After analysing the diaries the researchers found a pattern of the participants feeling more enthusiasm and higher 'flourishing' than usual following days when they were more creative. Flourishing is a psychological concept that can be described as increasing positive growth in oneself.
While the current study did not specifically ask the university students to record the nature of their creative activity, the researchers had collected such information informally in an earlier study. They found that the most common examples reported were songwriting; creative writing (poetry, short fiction); knitting and crochet; making new recipes; painting, drawing, and sketching; graphic and digital design; and musical performance.
The research appeared to indicate that creative activity on one day had a positive impact on wellbeing on the following day, leading to a spiral effect in those students who regularly undertook creative activities.