Early on in our sessions, every client fills out a circle of life handout. This assessment looks a bit like a wheel with a bunch of spokes, some of which are labeled “home environment” and “relationships;” then there’s a spot with the word “creativity.” As clients complete this exercise, there’s an awareness brought to the areas of life that aren’t working for them or aspects they’d like to enhance. Creativity is typically one of those areas. Even those who profess themselves to be the antithesis of artistic can find that creativity exists in so many forms. Increase your happiness and productivity by boosting your creativity:
1. Find an absorbing, slightly challenging pastime that allows you to feel some mastery – could be singing, a conversation, rock-climbing, creating a story, piano playing, or wood-working. In the state of flow, psychologists say, you forget yourself as you merge yourself with the task; this can also lead to higher self-esteem.
2. Let your ideas FLOW before you try to filter them. Not everything we dream up will be a smashing idea. The purpose and process of brainstorming can lead to several great sparks; however, if we censor them on the outset, we are less likely to find a successful solution or experience a stroke of brilliance.
3. Silence!? While too much noise can distract from your creative process, ambient noise (think coffeehouse-level at 65-70 decibels) can be beneficial. Consider listening to some theta brain wave music to get into a flow.
4. Daydreaming & following your thoughts. Contradictory to the idea that day-dreaming is something we are supposed to outgrow, it has been hailed as important to creative thinking (by none other than Sigmund Freud, for example). No matter where they wander, playing follow-the-leader with your thoughts can improve your mental performance according to a Psychological Science study. The perfect anti-dote to willful focus on a task is daydreaming. Think of it as a brain HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout!
5. Body movement = brainstorms! Exercise gets blood flowing to your brain and even 20-30 minutes can be enough to give your brain a boost for more innovative thoughts. Bonus: playing with a child often involves physical activity and creating stories to go along with the toys.