20 April 2020
Creativity may well be one of the missing pieces in the wellbeing puzzle. Studies have shown that creative expression through writing, art, crafting, music, and movement has potent mental, physical, and emotional healing power. Here are our top five tips on how to increase your creativity.
Think you're not creative? Think again. Creativity is a fundamental part of human nature. You don't have to be a gifted writer, an outstanding artist, or musical genius to express your innate creativity. You simply need to find the right creative outlet for you. There are hundreds of creative activities for you to try. Here are a few to whet your appetite:
Learning anything new improves brain function and helps to build new synapses. Music activates the right side of the brain that is associated with creativity, imagination, self-expression, and emotional intelligence. Therefore, learning how to play an instrument is an excellent creativity-boosting activity. The easiest instruments to learn are the ukulele, the keyboard, and the recorder.
Reading also helps to build new synapses and increase creativity. When we get lost in a book, our imagination is activated, which resides in the right-brain. The critical word here is 'book.' We read a lot of short-form information such as social media posts, blogs, and articles, but it is the focus on a long-form piece of creative writing that activates the right-brain. Most online content comes under the category of news or tutorials, which activate the analytical, logical left-brain.
"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." ― Oscar Wilde
Exercise is well-documented as having a positive effect on mood and focus. When we exercise, feel-good hormones such as serotonin are released into our bloodstream. It is a myth that people are more creative when they are depressed. In one study conducted by Teresa Amabile at Harvard University, 280 people were asked to record their thoughts and emotions daily. After analyzing over 12,000 journal entries, her team found that creativity is linked with feelings of joy and positivity. Another benefit of exercise is that it can help to clear and focus the mind. It can be akin to a meditation practice, which helps to uncover our deep creativity hidden in the depths of meaningless mind-chatter and over-analyzing tendencies.
When we give ourselves time to relax and just be, we provide our creativity with space to bloom. Being caught up in tasks and deadlines fosters anxiety, which is not helpful for creativity. Overwork can make our brains dull and stop creativity in its tracks. Just as meditation helps to soothe a busy mind, so does rest and rejuvenation. When we relax and allow the mind space, different parts of the brain connect and provide us with novel solutions and creative ideas.
Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash
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