You are inherently creative. By imagining a multitude of futures, humans can innovate beyond our current level of knowledge. Everyday processes that seem automated, like cooking dinner or making your bed, are still creative undertakings. So how can you tap into your original ideas?
Humans generate revolutionary ideas because our brains seek novelty. We adapt remarkably quickly and streamline new skills into expertise. Be alert! Our ability to access creativity is a double-edged sword. You must carefully cultivate this skill in order to live up to your potential and achieve your goals.
Creativity begets creativity. The less you nourish this gift, the more difficult it is to summon it when desired and to reap the benefits of an inspired life.
Ebbs and flows in creative thinking are natural. Certain seasons of your life may yield more imaginative fruits than others. However, if you’ve found yourself in a rut and are craving methods for cultivating more creativity, I have four simple tips for you.
1. Walk It Out
Have you ever noticed how a quick walk around the block can resolve your most frustrating mental blocks? There is a scientific reason for this phenomenon.
When you walk, you engage both hemispheres of your brain, encouraging greater communication between the two to coordinate your movements. Walking offers a change of scenery, allowing you to take in new information. One study shows that unrestricted movement has a particularly positive impact on creative thinking.
The rise of Zoom meetings in place of in-person ones has shown a decline in creative thinking among workplace peers.
When you stare at a computer screen, you restrict your vision to a single focal point. In a conference room or in-person setting, you have the freedom to allow your gaze to wander, to fidget, to get up and move (within reason).
Inspiration is always drawn to motion. This is true in both the metaphorical sense, i.e. momentum toward a goal, and the physical sense, including walking. One of the best things you can do for your creativity is to just start moving, no matter how small your steps are.
2. Get Social
Creativity is socially enhanced. Ideas exist within a lineage of what came before them, and they are then examined according to the current social climate. As you form creative thoughts, you benefit from the feedback of your peers because you receive contrasting viewpoints. You find a healthy balance between familiarity and novelty.
The next time you find yourself at a creative dead end, reach out to your creative network. Talking through a concept to willing ears is enough of a catalyst to generate your own ideas.
3. Hone Your Self-Care
You may have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow theorized that your fundamental needs must first be met in order to reach optimal self-actualization. Innovation still exists among the lower levels of the pyramid, but you are better equipped to reach your full potential when your need for food, shelter, and clothing is satisfied.
You’ve probably noticed that when you take care of yourself to the best of your ability, you’re more in tune with your surroundings, relationships, and desires. You have the freedom to wonder and to experiment, which leads to new plans.
While searching for methods to cultivate more creativity in your life, reviewing your self-care is a great place to start.
Start by asking yourself a few questions through reflection or journaling, such as:
“When am I feeling my absolute best? What do I need to re-create those circumstances?”
“Do I feel safe in my current environment? In my relationships? My workplace? Or my community? If not, what steps can I take to improve these circumstances?”
“Am I neglecting areas of my life? Are there areas where I feel neglected by others? Where can I offer myself more support and/or seek outside support?
4. Pick Up a Book!
Reading activates your imagination. It inspires you to translate words from the page of a book into a three-dimensional world full of richly layered characters and environments. It removes the focus from yourself, allowing you to experience the struggles of another person.
Reading familiar stories written for another culture evokes an entirely new understanding of those circumstances.
Creativity is bringing into existence something new, such as a new solution to a problem, a method, or an artistic form. To spark fresh ideas, you must first practice conceptualizing them. What better practice than by reading a book?
Creativity is an exclusively human anomaly that allows us to fully experience this world and envision future possibilities.
Nourishing your creativity has a powerful impact on your personal growth. With these simple tips, you will find that cultivating a more creative life can be as simple as hugging your loved ones.
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Boyd, Robert. “The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 20 Jun. 2011, https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1100290108.
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Murali, Supriya. “Motor restrictions impair divergent thinking during walking and during sitting.” Springer Link, 08 Jan. 2022, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00426-021-01636-w.
Trasmundi, Sarah Bro. “Reading: How Readers Beget Imagining.” National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information, 04 Sep. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7575866/.