What does creativity mean to you? Creativity can be defined as “the ability to bring something original and valuable into the world” and has been called the “skill of the future.”
Not only does creativity help you deal with uncertainty and problem-solving, but, as a component of the personality factor “openness to experience,” creativity has been found to better predict extended lifespan than certain other qualities.
Each one of us has the capacity to be creative! Here are 6 tips from the article linked below to help you develop your creativity:
1. Daily walking: Minds in motion are more creative. One scientific study compared individuals’ creativity while sitting to that when walking (including walking inside versus outside). Subjects were asked to perform various tasks requiring creativity while walking indoors on a treadmill, walking outdoors, sitting indoors, or sitting in a wheelchair outdoors as it was being pushed. In one task, subjects were given three objects and asked to think of as many different uses as they could for each object. Overall, creative output was found to improve by about 60% when walking (either indoors or out), versus sitting. So, if you’re looking to boost your creativity, try going for a short walk – or a long one.
2. Set task limits: This might seem counterintuitive at first. Doesn’t being creative imply being more expansive, letting one’s mind run free? Actually, setting strict limits can also foster creativity. One example is Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), whose editor bet him he could not write a children’s book using only 50 different words. Geisel rose to the challenge, producing under this unusual constraint one of his bestselling and most memorable books: Green Eggs and Ham (Seuss, 1960). So, consider setting some unusual limits for yourself. Whatever the activity, you might find that setting limits produces interesting and creative results.
3. Relax: Relaxation is known to enhance creativity. There are various proven ways to put oneself in a relaxed state. These include progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, walking meditation, and yoga postures. Furthermore, stress – the opposite of relaxation – is known to kill nerve cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain where new memories are formed. These new memories help us make connections with other things, fueling the creative process. Stress management is, therefore, imperative. So, take a break. Create a relaxed state for yourself by breathing deeply, stretching, going for a walk, whatever works for you. Once relaxed, you might find a creative answer to a problem that has been eluding you.
4. Collaborate: There is a famous image of the solitary genius, working alone in a lab or searching for a melody on a lone piano. But is the ‘solitary genius’ a myth? In a paper on collaboration and creativity, it was noted how collaboration can boost creative production: “creativity is not only, as myth tells, the brash work of loners, but also the consequence of a social system of actors that amplify or stifle one another’s creativity.” Many of history’s great creators – such as Beethoven, Marie Curie, the Beatles, and Maya Angelou – were involved in creative networks in which members critiqued, encouraged and collaborated on each other’s projects. So, if you tend to work alone and find yourself stuck on a project, consider seeking collaboration, for example, by discussing your project with another person in your field. You might find a new way forward on your project, with a little help from your friends.
5. Sleep on it: Artists, scientists, and other creative individuals have often described how sleep, and especially dreaming, helped them create new solutions to persistent problems. Various experiments have shown how sleep promotes creative problem solving. One set of experiments suggested that in REM (dream phase) sleep, the brain replays memories to extract essential patterns or lessons from them. In non-REM (deep or dreamless) sleep, the brain then makes connections between these patterns or lessons and other things we already know . We can thereby arrive at new solutions to problems that have preoccupied us during waking hours; as when, for example, James Watson dreamed of two intertwined serpents, leading to the discovery of DNA as a double helix. So, if your mind is stuck on a problem, try sleeping on it. You might wake up with your solution.
6. Genius hour: This tip for fostering creativity comes from a teacher who uses it in his classroom. He calls it “genius hour,” but the period spent could be more or less than 60 minutes. The idea is to start a side project, something you are passionate about. The inspiration, ideas, and skills you develop in this labor of love might well translate to other, more routine projects, moving those forward in positive ways.
Go deeper here: https://positivepsychology.com/creativity/
Will you try any of these tips this week?
With love and light,