3 Unexpected Ways to Increase Creativity
Creativity can be an elusive goal. There are few quantitative measures for the quality of thinking that creates novelty and ingenuity. With that in mind, it makes it difficult to discern the most effective ways to promote creative thinking, with countless varieties of redundant and overlapping puzzle regiments and brain exercises on the market today. Given the appeal of these tools, it is apparent that some people appreciate the benefits of creativity on personal level or even as professional necessity. No matter your motivation, there are many simple, unexpected ways to begin making new connections in your mind and to begin seeing the world differently.
1. Cloud Watching
The clouds are a fascinating phenomenon of the natural world, constantly changing shape and location, moving fast or hardly moving at all. No two clouds are ever the same and one might even change completely from one second to the next. They are the perfect analogy for free-ranging ideas and there is science to prove that watching the shifting shapes actually promotes the growth of the creative networks in the brain. This is due to an effect referred to as “psychological distance,” where the subject of thought becomes ambiguous due to it being far from hand. These thoughts might take the shape of seeing from the viewpoint of another, visualizing a distant place, reflecting on the past and future, or watching a mysterious pattern in the distance, like a cloud front. The more space between the thought and the thought’s relevance to the here-and-now, the more the mind works to make a connection through all that distance, thus yielding more creative solutions.
2. Dream Journaling
Dreams have always been known as a source of inspiration. The meaning of a powerful dream resonates throughout the rest of waking life, even if we can’t remember it! But remembering it is the first step to harvesting the insight from our fantastic experiences of sleep. By keeping a dream journal near your bed and regularly recording everything you can remember from the night, you encourage your brain to hold on to the tidbits of your slumbering mind. These thoughts are primal and unfiltered, showing a side of us of which we ourselves are not even aware. The more that you record your dreams, the easier it becomes. Beyond the scientifically-backed benefits of sleep on your brain’s functional abilities, the dream journal will become a library of complex images and symbols that have great meaning to your personal experience of life. By interpreting and connecting the seemingly random thoughts of sleep, your brain will be better able to make new thoughts from the old.
Much like the first two activities, meditation is a very straightforward means to seeing the world in less straightforward ways. It can be as simple as setting aside twenty minutes a day to be alone with your thoughts. Breathing techniques, mantras, and stretching are all suitable accessories to a core method of deep reflection and self-monitoring. The more that we pay attention to the patterns within ourselves, the more that we are able to observe and control the happenings of our internal and external worlds. Scientifically proven to reduce stress, meditation has wide-ranging benefits, the most primary of which is improved brain functioning. By meditating, you activate and access every region of your brain more efficiently and dynamically, finding resources that were untapped before. The more parts of your brain you use, the more creative results are achieved.