Most people often misunderstand creativity.
Sure, most of us believe creativity is helpful, but we don’t consider ourselves as “creative types”.
Instead, we believe creativity is helpful for people who work in graphic design, musicians, painters, or sculptors.
But this is a wrong way to think about creativity.
Creativity helps us in our day-to-day lives more than you’d think.
Chances are, most of the times we make a surprising decision, that decision is highly influenced by our creativity.
Simply put, creativity is the cognitive process that lets us know that jumping over a fence is a solution when we discover that the gate is closed, and the one that lets us improvise when we’re short of certain supplies or tools.
And creative thinking is highly sought after these days, no matter in which field you activate.
Creative people can provide a different perspective on a known problem, and they can come up with new solutions when old approaches are not effective any longer.
Even though most of us don’t consider ourselves creative, there’s no denying that creativity can be very useful.
Luckily, there are 9 scientifically-based ways to boost your creativity.
- Let Go Of Perfection
The first we should understand when we seek to come up with a creative solution for a problem is that we shouldn’t strive for perfection.
Seeking perfection is actually stressful, and stress is known as a creativity killer.
When we’re searching for a creative solution, we should be aware that the solution we come up with won’t fit the template we’re used to.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good solution, it only means it’s new and innovative.
You cannot expect something to be innovative but match your predefined expectations at the same time, that’s nonsense.
If the creative solution you came up with gets the job done, it should be good enough for you.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should come up with a sloppy solution that will only solve half of the problem.
That won’t do.
Sure, you might come with a better solution in time, or maybe you will upgrade the one you already used, but that doesn’t mean they will be perfect, nor does it mean they won’t be good.
If we stop comparing our work with some old templates, we might discover that we can come up with creative solutions for most of the things we do every day.
- Read A Lot
Reading is one of the most important things you can do to boost your creativity.
When we read, our mind is actually exercising.
Yes, that really sounds like a cliche, but that doesn’t make it less true.
Just like our bodies, our minds also need exercise to perform at their best.
And reading seems to be a great exercise because it allows the mind to fantasize and to think creatively.
We don’t have to read fiction or fantasy to work our “creativity muscles”.
Everything we read will increase our concentration and stimulate our creativity.
Unlike watching TV or Youtube videos, reading is an active process that requires our active engagement and concentration.
You might have noticed that if you’re not paying attention when you read something, your eyes will keep wandering across the page, but your mind won’t process any information.
Instead, when we’re concentrating on the book itself, our minds create opinions, images, and thoughts the whole time.
Reading will exercise your mind, so the more you read, the more creative your mind will become. (2)
- Trying New Things
One of the most common mistakes people make during their lifetimes is being satisfied with what they’ve already experienced and what they already know.
Not only does this limit our ability to think outside the box, but it will also limit our creativity.
If we never try new things, how can we think about something innovative?
Humans are creatures of habits.
All of us like doing things in particular ways.
We like our morning coffee just so, and we like to take the same route on our daily commutes.
All of us have different habits, and the reason behind them is the fact that habits allow our brains to turn their autopilot functions.
Just think about it, when was the last time you tried preparing your morning coffee differently?
Chances are, not in a very long time.
Most of us don’t even change the type of coffee we drink for years on end.
And that’s because we prefer to let the autopilot take the wheel while our brains take a nap in the backseat.
While habits might be useful to save time, they can be very harmful to our creative minds.
Not trying new things limits our brains to a small sum of experiences, so it makes it harder for the brain to think about something new.
Every time we try new things, we step outside our comfort zone.
We might even feel a little bit uncomfortable doing so, but that’s just our brain trying to protect us.
But when we step outside our comfort zone, the brain really becomes active.
Rather than letting the autopilot take the wheel, the conscious mind takes over and tries to make as many connections as it can.
So we’ll smell new things, our eyes will wander and explore different patterns and colors, and different hormones will be released into our bodies, making us a little anxious and perhaps ever fearful.
But that’s just the mind taking in all the new information we’re experiencing.
If we really want to boost our creativity, we should make a habit out of trying new things.
We should connect with other cultures, whether by reading about their ways and customs or by trying their food.
We should avoid drinking and eating our favorite foods every weekend and try something new instead.
We can even work in a new environment once in a while.
You never know where the inspiration will come from.
Consuming content that’s outside our comfort zone is surely a good thing to try.
Sure, you might be more interested in reading work-related stuff, but reading something way outside your industry might provide the necessary spark to get your creativity going.
This will stimulate our minds into making new memories and connections, and it will boost our creativity in the long run. (3)
One of the problems modern society has nowadays is that people take themselves too seriously.
No matter if they’re at work or at home, people rarely do something to have fun any longer, and if they do, it’s most likely a passive cognitive process, such as watching a television series or a movie.
And the worst thing is, we force our children to be serious from a very fragile age as well.
But that seems to be a terrible idea if we want to stimulate our creativity.
Even though it might seem unproductive, play time is one of the of the most effective ways to stimulate creative thinking.
When we play, our brain pursues different things it’s interested in, and it makes things up to create a story of sorts.
This cognitive process is very important, even though most of the times it fails to accomplish anything specific.
When our brains create different scenarios and make things up on the go for us to have fun, they’re actually accessing the cognitive parts of our minds.
Just like reading, playing can be considered an exercise for our brains, and it can stimulate our creativity.
Moreover, playing can allow our minds to make connections they wouldn’t normally make when we pursue a certain goal.
Even though playing might be considered infantile and unproductive, some of the world’s biggest companies, including Google, encourage their employees to spend time playing while they’re at work.
The results – well, let’s call them surprisingly efficient.
Both Google Earth and Gmail were created when employees were enjoying their free time. (4)
When people think about different ways to stimulate their creative minds, they tend to ignore that the body works as a whole, not as a set of different components crammed in a shell.
Exercising regularly is very good for our brain.
Exercising stimulates our blood flow, so our hearts will push more blood every minute.
This increased blood flow doesn’t only reach your muscles, it also reaches your brain.
And thanks to the increased volume of blood it receives, your brain will also receive more nutrients and more oxygen in the process.
Fortunately, our brains are complex organs, so they don’t have to focus only on thing at once.
When we’re exercising, part of our brain is actively controlling our movement, and part of it wanders.
This allows our minds to think of different things and sometimes come up with surprising solutions.
However, our minds will wander while we’re exercising only if the body is used to exercise.
If it’s not, most of our cognitive processes will track our movements, so our creative juices might not start flowing as expected.
That’s why it’s very important to exercise regularly.
If you’re not used to regular exercise, you can simply take long walks to get your creative juices flowing.
When we walk, our brain is stimulated to make new neural connections, allowing our neurons to communicate better with one another.
Scientists now believe that regular exercise acts as a cognitive enhancer, and the best thing is, it’s also inexpensive and beneficial for our bodies.
And recent studies show that you can even boost your creativity just by exercising your eyes.
Most of us might not have heard of eye exercises before, but rest assured, they are real and they’re backed by science.
A simple eye exercise we can practice is moving our eyes left to right and repeating the process.
Apparently, this movement increases the amount of information our brain hemispheres exchange, which helps them collaborate better.
Exercising our eyes will also boost our creativity. (5)
- Relax and Stay Positive
One of the most frequent problems people face when they try to do something creative is staying positive.
Creative processes are often very demanding, and so people often experience creative blocks.
The problem is that once we hit a creative block, we get frustrated and we find it hard to overcome them.
Even though most of us try to force our way around a creative block, that seems to be a bad approach.
The best thing we could do is to relax.
Sure, this might seem easier said than done at first, but we can get there with exercise.
It’s true that after we reach a creative block we feel anything but relaxed, but thankfully, there are scientifically-proven ways that can take the edge off.
- Hot Showers – taking a hot shower can be a very relaxing process. All of us tend to relax when we feel warm, and hot showers are the perfect way to be surrounded by warmth. As a plus, hot showers also relax our muscles, making us feel more at ease.
- Daydreaming – One of the most efficient ways to relax our minds is to let them wander. Daydreaming allows our conscious minds to think about something else, and most often then not, the solution for the problem at hand will show itself right when we’re not focusing on it.
- Laying Down – Most people feel more comfortable when they’re laying down than when they’re standing, so this is an effective way to relax.
- Power Naps – Since we’re supposed to be more comfortable while laying down, we might as well take a short nap. Keep in mind that the nap should be short. Power naps shouldn’t last more than half an hour, or you might wake up groggy instead of refreshed.
- Have A Laugh – Laughing is a great way to relax our minds. We can do anything that makes us laugh, as long as we do. Whether we play or we watch a comedy sketch, laughing engages our brains and makes us feel more relaxed in the process.
Relaxing will help our minds to overcome any creative blocks we might encounter, and that will keep us positive.
Our brains are much more efficient when we’re positive, so we’re more likely to complete any process we’re involved in if we have a positive mindset. (6)
Humans are social creatures, so we need to interact with other people if we want to lead a normal life.
However, most of us don’t need to interact with someone all day long to feel like we belong.
Our creative minds have a difficult time expressing themselves when we’re overwhelmed with information.
So every time we take a break to interact with someone over social media platforms, we’re actually stopping our creative thoughts.
Spending some time in solitude, away from the world, can boost your creativity.
Try to disconnect from your social media accounts when you’re involved in a creative process.
You can even try to shut out all the noise that might distract you from your work.
The world will still be there once you’ve finished your project.
- Get Someone Else’s Opinion
All of us have different ideas and beliefs.
Even though you might think you’re the best person to handle a project, that doesn’t mean that nobody around you can do anything to help.
You can always get someone else’s opinion on your work, and see how it goes.
Even if that person is not involved in the same work field as you, you might still receive valuable ideas from them.
Getting a different perspective on a project can broaden the way you look at things, and it can stimulate your creativity.
You might even change the way to approach the problem altogether.
- Listen To Music
Listening to happy music can boost your creativity.
And the best type of happy music you can listen to when you’re involved in a creative process is classical music, according to science.
People who listened to Mozart or Vivaldi experienced an increase in their creativity.
They came up with solutions that didn’t occur to them while they were trying to perform the task in complete silence.
Scientists believe that listening to happy music might enhance the brain’s flexibility in thinking, allowing us to come up with more creative solutions. (9)