Unfortunately, however, as we grow into adulthood our minds swirl with life, chores, work and everything in-between, which often squashes our opportunities for creative thinking. It even can seem that we’ve lost our natural ability to be creative. The good news is that your mind remains fully capable of fresh creative thinking — you just have to give it the right opportunities.
1. Go for a Walk
Taking a walk is one of the best ways to generate ideas, according to a research study by Stanford University psychologists. Interestingly, it’s not just the sheer change of scenery that does the trick. The research compared creativity levels of people pushed in wheelchairs with those who walked. Only the walkers found that their thoughts became more creative. If you keep a pencil and small notebook or a recording device with you when you take a walk with your kids, you’ll be able to capture ideas as they come to you.
2. Sleepless Nights Are Good for Creativity
Everyone has non-optimal times of day; if you’re a night owl, you may feel useless during the early morning hours. Any parent who’s been up with a child during the night may feel like their brain is switched off. It turns out, however, that only your analytic thinking capacity is diminished during these fuzzy times. When your brain is tired, it is easily distracted and more likely to follow unexpected tangents. The result is sometimes a fresh juxtaposition of ideas. If you find yourself feeling a bit tired and dreamy, take a few minutes (even if you have to shut yourself in the bathroom) to sit down with a pencil and paper and let your mind wander. You’ll feel refreshed, and you may come up with a whole new outlook on things!
3. Create Background Noise (this shouldn’t be hard!)
Do you sometimes find yourself stuck in an indoor play area or waiting room with a high level of background noise? The sounds of fans, dishwashers, traffic, espresso machines and background chatter can affect your thought processes — but not always in a negative way. Ambient noise (as long as it’s not overwhelmingly loud) can actually free up your creativity because it promotes the abstract processing functions of your brain. Scientists who tested creative performance found that it improves in the presence of a moderate amount of background noise. A notebook or note-taking device, such as your smartphone, lets you make use of this unique form of mindfulness. Bringing a new sense of depth and coherence to the busy experience of your daily life may be a simpler matter than you realized. Keeping a pen and paper (even if they’re digital) with you at all times allows you to turn some of life’s in-between times into rich sources of new ideas.
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