Whether you feel like your creativity has plateaued or you feel it’s an innate strength that you just don’t have, fear not. Like many other things, creativity is actually a balance of nature and nurture (read: you can learn how to be creative). Here’s how.
Research suggests that exercise and spending time outside helps to not only boost creativity, but also to improve focus. Setting down your phone or laptop and going for a stroll outside can increase your brain function and heighten the flow of creative ideas. In a slump at the office? Go for a quick stroll around the block.
Listen to music
Similar to spending time outside, listening to music helps improve creativity and focus. Music can boost imagination and spark inventive thinking; listening to classical music in particular has been linked with having a higher IQ, memory retention, and creativity.
Ignore negative thinking
A lack of self-confidence or criticism can hinder creativity. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm a number of ideas—it’s most likely that the problem you’re trying to resolve has more than one solution.
Using essential oils can evoke feelings of positivity, relaxation, or euphoria, creating an environment in which your brain is free to think creatively and without judgement. Test out a few of your favourite scents and see which one works best for you. Use single oils or combine a few for an aroma that helps place your mind in a creative state.
Meditation carries a host of benefits, and while we wouldn’t directly correlate meditation with creativity, it happens to be a positive side effect. Meditation teaches mindfulness, focus, calmness, and clarity, all which contribute to a state of mind that induces creative thinking and the free flow of thoughts. Try starting with as little as 10 minutes of meditation a day.
Re-conceptualize the problem
Research has shown that creative people tend to think of problems from different angles. For example, if you’re looking to write a book, try to stay away from thinking, “What can I write that will be the most popular?” and instead phrase the question as, “What can I write about that will resonate with people the most?” Ideally, think of the situations from a more meaningful angle rather than a generic outcome.
We know we have to continually exercise our brains to improve vocabulary and maintain mental ability. Reading is a great way to do both, plus spark creativity. Set aside at least 20 minutes a day to read articles, books, or reports, and read about as many different subjects, industries, and viewpoints as possible. This will help your mind expand its version of thinking and help you view the world through different perspectives—which is a good idea no matter what industry you’re in.