Believe it or not, we are all creative by nature. Creativity doesn’t have to look like the arts, and you definitely don’t have to be crafty to be creative. Creativity can look like problem-solving, cooking, playing, parenting, planning, decorating, working out, making playlists, getting dressed, etc. Creativity makes life more interesting, your days more colorful, work more exciting and relationships more meaningful.
There are so many ways to be creative, even coming up with ways to express your creativity is a creative endeavor. To get you started, here are nine tips from 24Life experts to help you tap into your innate creativity.
Take a walk
Researchers at Stanford University discovered that walking alone is enough to kick-start those creative juices. While exercise is perceived to be inspirational, the researchers believe less-strenuous activity like walking opens up creative pathways between body and brain. Performing beyond your “natural stride” (as in running) is cognitively demanding, they write, while one’s natural gait allows the brain’s default-mode network to kick in.
Bathe in nature
Spending time in nature improves our mindset and reduces stress. It’s also known to be a means to overcome creative blocks. When you are struggling with a problem or struck with writer’s block or general anxiety from facing a blank page, a walk can be the ultimate creative regeneration.
Take a shower
Ever wonder why people have so many creative insights in the shower? It’s because showers can cause theta brain waves. During a theta state, you mentally disengage from the automatic task at hand, allowing your mind to wander and come up with great ideas. Theta states also can occur while you’re driving.
Take a break
We’ve all had problems that just don’t seem solvable no matter how hard we think about them. When that happens, it’s crucial that you take a break. Don’t just stop thinking of the problem— physically walk away. Even if you’re not consciously working on the problem, your subconscious will work on it for you. Plus, stimulating your brain with new environments boosts your creativity.
Reset your playlist
The sounds that surround us help guide our minds and create unique experiences. Sound therapy can help the brain slip more easily into alpha brain-wave frequencies that improve the ability to think at a higher level. You can create your own sound therapy by tapping out a beat, humming or chanting or even just through breathwork. Alternatively, you can create a playlist of music or musical experiences that help to induce a relaxed state of mind—even putting one song on repeat or turning on a white-noise machine.
Play is essential to our health. Embedded in play is the willingness to learn something new, to challenge ourselves and to risk falling down. Play is as personal to each of us as is taste or love or joy. We each have our own way in—the how doesn’t matter. Play something, and in doing so, you’ll make the space you need to shift your energy back into your creative endeavors.
Seek out the unfamiliar
We tend to talk to the same people at work, at the PTA meeting, at the gym. Talk to one person every day with whom you would not normally strike up a conversation. You may be amazed at what is sparked through conversing with someone out of your comfort zone.
Clear out the clutter
According to research, disorder is stimulating for some people, while others find it overwhelming and distracting. What works for you? Sort it out, and then dim the lights. The lighting will inspire internal reflection and the ability to focus on your creation. Where you live and work impacts how you feel and your readiness to begin your creative work. Regardless of how you set up your space, the more your space reflects the true you, the better.
The more you create, the less you worry about whether your work is good enough—and the more likely something you create will in fact be good. You don’t have to write the next great novel or paint a masterpiece—it can be something as simple as sketching or writing a blog post. Because, as artist and author Danny Gregory says, it’s much more important to make a lot of bad work than it is to make no good work at all.
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