You might be surprised to hear that you can actually train your brain to be more creative. Oftentimes, people think that creativity is some mystical, innate skill, and you either have it, or you don’t. But research has shown that there are some strategies you can use to stimulate creativity in your everyday life and benefit from new ways of thinking and problem solving.
1. Switch up your regular routine
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things the same way every day. But the more you stimulate your brain with change and novelty, the more flexible and creative your brain gets.
Keep your creative mind on its toes by reading new books, trying different foods and places to eat, even trying different routes through your neighborhood. Switching up your usual routines will stimulate your mind and get you thinking about new possibilities and approaches to life.
2. Relax the rules
So much of what you do is bounded by shoulds and oughts. From those eight glasses of water you’re supposed to drink, the right foods to eat, and how much and when, to whether it’s okay to talk in the elevator, much of your life is probably restricted by how you think you should behave.
Try breaking some of the rules today. Smile and say hi to the waiter or the bus driver. Crack a joke in that silent elevator. Open up a bit and allow your creative, maybe even slightly anarchic brain to flourish.
3. Look around you
Another good way of relaxing your mind and allowing your creativity to grow is to simply sit in the present and observe what’s going on around you. Work your way through each of your senses and really notice your environment. What can you hear, see, smell, feel, even taste? Notice everything and then write down what comes into your head.
When you walk down the street, look up and around. Chances are you’ll be the only person not looking at their phone or frowning into the idle distance. Don’t miss out on noticing the signs of spring or autumn. Look up and around and see how many colors and textures are right there in front of you.
4. Really talk to people
How much of your conversation is either you talking or being talked at? Step back a little and really engage with other people. Don’t just talk or think of what you’re going to say next. Practice active listening and give the other person space to speak.
Real conversation can open up all sorts of possibilities and creative solutions you might never have thought of.
If You Had Everything Where Would You Put it?
The last thing a creative mind needs is unlimited resources with which to get things done.
The problem with too much stuff? You find yourself with too many options, too many paths to take. You start wandering in all directions, trying to figure out where the best ideas are, without making a lot of progress toward the solution.
On the other hand, problems with limited solutions often inspire the most creative ideas. When you can only go so far, with so much, you have to make the best of your resources…and you frequently do just that.
So if you’re stuck, try taking out some of the variables. What would you do if you had only so much time or resources?