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Creativity Boost!

15 scientifically-backed tips to improve creativity and inspire innovation

Self improvement is a more popular topic than ever! Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Therefore, it is really important to focus on inward well-being, even by simply incorporating minor changes to your daily routine that can elevate your creativity and boost your productivity.

Visit you happy place

Dr. Wienschenk (Behavioural Psychologist) outlines the great benefits of finding a space where you feel completely calm and comfortable. That place could be a coffee shop, a bench in the park, or the beach. Wherever that place is for you try to visit it regularly and let your mind wander. Furthermore, if it is a quiet place your prefrontal cortex will connect with different neurons allowing you to focus your mind.

Roll your eyes

Rather than revel in sarcasm, simply close your eyes and roll them from side to side and up and down. A study by Stockton College outlined that a 30- second eye exercise triggers an inter-hemispheric interaction in the brain. By facilitating a connection between the left and right side of your brain you are actually boosting your creative thinking.

Focus on the trees and the sky

Whilst walking to work, take a few minutes to absorb the beauty of the blue sky or a colourful garden. A study by the University of British Columbia highlights a connection between looking at cool colours and the ability to think creatively.

Take a shower

When you take a shower, you shock your system and release dopamine which allows you to focus on internal contemplation rather than on external stimuli surrounding you on a daily basis. Professor John Kounios argues that finding, which he defines as the moment a solution simply pops up into our mind is most likely to occur when in the right state of mind, whether this be out in nature or in the shower.

Walk to work

Getting just 30 minutes of any aerobic exercise before work can significantly expand your problem solving skills. Professor David Blanchette argues that even a quick activity can result in greater creative potential for up to a couple of hours afterwards. Therefore, you may consider walking to work or taking a walk during a lunch time break to get the ideas flowing again.

Distance yourself

We all have been stuck on a problem at the office only to have the solution become crystal clear as soon as we leave. According to Indiana University, creating spatial distance between ourselves and an idea allows us to be more creative and encourages our problem solving skills.

Solve a puzzle

When you continuously transition tasks during the working day, your brain needs an activity to warm up. Just like athletes who stretch before starting a marathon, you must focus your mind before hitting an assignment. Professors Moreau and Nevi suggest that today, less workers are given the opportunities to be creative leading to decreased inspiration. Furthermore, in their study they noted the significant difference in workers’ motivation and the benefits of providing employees with a small challenge to solve a problem with Lego or by simply solving a puzzle.

Read something absurd

If you ever feel uninspired browse a website with unique content or explore in depth unusual sources of information. According to the University of California the idea of exploring unusual and unrelated content is very likely to bring our creativity back to life.

Zone out

Allow yourself to drift off while focusing on something that inspires your creative thinking. Duke University focus group research showed that business students could come up with more creative and unique solutions after staring at the Apple or PC logo (depending on personal preferences). Hence, the next time you are feeling stuck, try to channel your creativity through focusing solely on the visual task.

Practice an instrument

Even if you are aware that this is not your strength, try to play a single tune on a piano or another instrument of your choice. Researchers from Vanderbilt University suggest that playing a musical instrument encourages the brain to think with both sides simultaneously which helps to cultivate ingenuity.

Ask questions

When trying to come up with new ideas that stand out, start by asking yourself and others multiple questions. Think of at least ten solutions to each question and see what those answers inspire. Simply considering different points of view could lead to the generation of unique and innovative ideas.

Create when you are angry

Multiple studies and research have concluded that there is a significant increase in the creative productivity by people experiencing depression, feeling angry or other highly emotional states. According to this research, strong situation factors mainly associated with negative emotions are likely to result in powerful reflective thinking. In fact, one of them highlighted that the most creative time for many people was after some sort of social rejection.

Lie down

Dr. Lipnacki from the Australian National University tested participants’ problem solving skills and concluded that people that are lying down are more likely to come up with a unique solution quicker. This ability to solve problems more expediently when in a relaxed position is due to the reduced role of noradrenaline in our system which inhibits creativity.

Dim the lights

According to findings from the Journal of Environmental Psychology, lower light settings triggered a perception of freedom and inspired creative processing. The findings suggest that our environment should have natural sunshine and turned off or lowered fluorescent lighting.

Set your own deadlines

Avoid procrastination by determining and setting your own deadlines and adhering to them. This will not only reduce delays and improve your performance, but will keep you continuously motivated to accomplish your goals in a timely manner.

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