5 Simple Tips to Jumpstart Your Creativity, Backed by Science

Searching for ideas and coming up empty can be frustrating. We’ve all been there.

From answering, “What’s for dinner?” to finding a theme for your friend’s surprise birthday party, life is full of moments where we wish we were a little more creative. Why is it that our mind can seem like it’s totally blank?

Our divergent thinking muscle needs exercising.

This mode of problem solving which involves coming up with all possible ways to reach a resolution is not encouraged as much in our society. Instead, we find ourselves confined to convergent thinking, where we look for one perfect answer.

5 Simple Tips to Jumpstart Your Creativity, Backed by Science

 

How to Embrace Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking is our number one ally when it comes to being more creative. Here’s how you can trick your brain into this better-for-creativity thinking mode. Hint: it’s so easy, you won’t believe it!

1. Take a Walk

We all know that a bit of fresh air and exercise will do us some good. Unsurprisingly, it can do wonders for our creativity. It’s all about the mind-body connection.

In a series of experiments devised to measure divergent thinking and creative analogy generation following a short walk, scientists from Stanford University discovered that an impressive 81 percent of participants were positively impacted.

It turns out that physical activity, even milder forms such as walking at a normal pace, has a great influence on our cognition at large and our creativity in particular.

Don’t have time to actually go outside? No worries. Researchers found that walking on a treadmill had as much impact on boosting creativity.

2. Listen to Happy Music

Turning up Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ might be just what the creativity doctor has ordered. That’s what recent research from the Netherlands suggests, at least.

The study had participants perform a divergent creativity task either in silence or while listening to various types of classical music. The result? Songs that brought about an increase in positive mood also saw an increase in creativity.

How to Jumpstart Your Creativity, According to Science

3. Pour Yourself a Cup of Tea

Not a tea drinker? A recent study on tea consumption and creativity will convince you to ditch coffee in favor of this more relaxing beverage.

Researchers found that drinking a simple cup of tea prior to performing tasks requiring the use of imagination to generate original ideas (naming a fictitious ramen restaurant), produced better results than plain water.

The reason for tea’s impact on divergent thinking is still speculative, but the evidence points out to its influence on our mood. Drinking tea has a relaxing effect which promotes a positive mood and an openness to new ideas.

4. Look at Your Old Yearbook

Let’s be real: most of us don’t like to walk down memory lane. Especially when it’s those dreaded years of adolescence.

However, studies suggest that doing just that might be the best thing for your creativity. Even if, you know, it makes you a little blue. Being in a state of nostalgia, triggered by social interactions and negative feelings, was shown to be positively linked with creativity.

How? Openness to experience which is characteristic of nostalgic reverie, is an important component to divergent thinking.

5. Meditate

The benefits of meditation are numerous and far reaching. You can now add increased creativity to the list.

Recent research found that open-monitoring meditation—a state in which you simply observe your thoughts and sensations as they come, without focusing on any—produced an increased level of creativity when preceding a divergent thinking task.

The practice leads to a change in our thinking patterns where unrestricted thoughts are favored which is essential for creativity.

Not sure how to meditate? Here are a few tips to get you started with a daily meditation practice.

Want more tips to improve your creativity and be more productive? Check out our 10 Tips for a Creative Life and these 6 Strange (But Easy) Ways to Be More Productive.

Image via Unsplash.

163 comments

Sophie A
Sophie A5 days ago

thank you

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danii p
danii p21 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p21 days ago

Thank you

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Izorie Irvin
Izorie Irvin26 days ago

I do ALL 5 and it really does make a BIG Difference in my daily reasoning with everyday situations...Thanks 4 sharing...

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danii p
danii pabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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danii p
danii pabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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danii p
danii pabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Melanie St. Germaine
Melanie St. Germaineabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a month ago

Thanks.

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Renata B
Renata Babout a month ago

Thank you.

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