Creativity is a useful skill to have in life. It can help you rely on your own ability to think outside of the box and find effective solutions to more unique challenges. Yet creativity is not something you are simply born with; it’s something people develop over time.
As such, here are 7 habits you can get into that can readily improve your creativity. By learning to rely on yourself and think in new ways, you can readily expand the way you think and assess the various challenges faced in life.
Think About Unrelated Problems
When faced with a difficult task, most people often think about similar issues they’ve faced in the past. While useful, this is a form of pattern recognition and only ensures the same answers come up time and time again. Yet what happens if you start thinking about unrelated problems?
In short, let your mind wonder to other tasks you might need to resolve. During this process, your subconscious may be able to make links you consciously were not able to when restricting yourself to similar scenarios. By forcing your mind off the issue at hand, you may in fact open up an entire new method of problem solving.
Being creative involves utilizing your imagination to create new solutions, rather than solving something from existing elements presented to you. One could argue this is very similar to reading a novel – unlike television, you have to imagine and mentally recreate the contents for yourself – and science suggests there is a strong link between creativity and reading. Specifically, of course, this typically refers to fiction. A good novel is much more engaging on the mind than field reports or office statistics.
Like many items on this list, reading helps give your mind something do while keeping the creative elements flowing, all without actually causing you to consciously work. It’s also a great form of escapism, which is what everyone needs once in a while. So, find something you enjoy and make sure you set yourself time to get some reading done.
Stay In Shape
A healthy mind needs a healthy body. This is why some people have their best ideas outside of the office – four closed walls are too restrictive. In fact, some studies suggest walking can improve creativity by 60 per cent. It’s often found that even a short walk can get your creative juices flowing, even when you sit back down again.
So, the next time you need to find a new solution or look at things form a new angle, try taking a walk and looking after your body. The brain is just another muscle after all, so your overall health is important. It’s also proven that various foods, such as tuna, have nutrients and ingredients that the brain loves, so be sure to improve your diet as well.
It might not seem like much, but gardening is a fantastic way to showcase creativity, as well as self-reliance. It is a hobby that visibly shows its efforts, proving what you are capable of. It also gets you outside and, as mentioned above, a good source of exercise is another way to improve your cognitive skills.
Furthermore, it is often more challenging than it looks and encourages creative solutions. Got a big garden and want to cut down on water bills? Why not consider rainwater harvesting for your garden? This can channel rainwater elsewhere and solving problems like this in a unique fashion will give you better confidence and the ability to believe in yourself.
Talking To Others
Similarly, have you ever tried explaining your problem to others? Often, people find talking about something out aloud forces them to simplify the issue to its purest form. While others may not be able to offer a solution, just thinking about things in terms of how other people would understand it encourages you to look at it from a new angle once again. This can reignite your thinking processes or even uncover something that you overlooked or forgot.
The brain is very closely linked to our senses. Have you ever tried working under a bright light, or when you can smell delicious food? These senses overload your brain and this, in turn, can influence how creative you are.
Simply put – pay more attention to the sensory surroundings you put yourself in. Both harsh lights and low lights can be a problem, as your brain becomes too focused on visual input. On a similar note, many people find calm music helps them relax, while large noises only serve as distractions. Even if you’re not paying attention, you may on some subconscious level be diverting attention away from the task at hand.
Walking Away From Problems
Sometimes you just need to take a break. When you force yourself to find a solution, it can be mentally exhausting. Creativity can often strike when you don’t expect it, so one of the best options to do (if time is not a problem) is to get in the habit of taking breaks.
In fact, science suggests that even sleeping can improve your creativity. After getting some rest, your brain is refreshed and revitalized to tackle yesterday’s issues. On the other hand, if you simply push yourself into starting at a problem long enough, you will only become agitated as you force your mind into the same paths of logic, creating an endless loop that doesn’t do you any favors.
As you can see, there are more than a few ways to help increase your creativity. If you get into these habits, you will find your brain starting to be more productive as you shape your mind into a powerful, creative decision tool.
Tim Sparke advocates for a beautiful planet by lending his voice to matters of the environment, sustainability and organics. As the CEO at 4 Pumps, his hobbies are generally centered around water pumps and gardening. In his spare time, he writes from personal perspectives to motivate and inspire a happy world.