One of the reasons I love watching my children play is that it reminds me of how much creativity lies within them. We were born creative people, whether we nurtured it into adulthood or not. Twelve-year-old Phoebe became completely immersed in drawing, constructing, and storytelling, and ten-year-old Henry explored between ideas that never crossed my adult mind. The connection continues to amaze me. They have no interest in learning how to be more creative. Instead, embody it.
Their natural free play is in stark contrast to my usual focus on productivity. Even my spare time is often spent socializing and connecting with electronic devices, rarely any activity that requires my imagination.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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13 ways to become a more creative person
It got me thinking how wonderful it would be if this creative spark were brought into adult life. I’ve researched and learned that getting back can actually be a huge factor in discovering our passions, figuring out what makes us feel most alive, and doing our jobs better.
Read on for 13 ways to be more creative every day. And get ready to be heavily restimulated.
1. Drawing, painting, doodling, watercolor
Growing up, my favorite thing to do when I got bored was pick up a notebook and some markers and draw without seeing the end goal. I did it just for the sheer joy of creation! I started doing collages. In high school, an aspiring fashion designer fought the boredom of band classes by secretly sketching dresses.
Making art just for fun was so refreshing to my heart and soul.
The sheer act of creating art of any kind activates all kinds of connections in the brain, so don’t fight the urge to doodle during your next conference call. Dusting off and spending some time painting watercolors with Phoebe. Making art just for fun was so refreshing to my heart and soul.
2. Do something physical
Research shows that exercise can help you break out of left-brain dominant thinking and adopt a more creative way of thinking instead. Exercise also increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, sharpening mental clarity. This is an interesting article that claims that aerobic exercise can help spark imagination and new ideas.
3. Embrace boredom
Looking back on my 48-hour detox from all my devices, one of the biggest goals of the experiment was learning how to embrace boredom. why, you may ask? Research shows that being bored actually pushes us toward deeper thinking and creativity. According to theory, a bored mind seeks stimulation, which shifts into a state of daydreaming that leads to new ideas.Read more about the study here.
Instead of filling your extra minutes with productivity or scrolling through your phone, give yourself some breathing room. Let your mind wander, and who knows?
4. Watch TED talks and listen to podcasts
Listening to powerful TED talks or listening to fascinating interviews with people is often a great way to quickly shift your perspective without much effort. There are many people who inspire me, but nothing excites my creative thinking more than learning from someone who is truly innovative in my field. For more inspiration, check out our list of feel-good podcasts designed to lift your mood in no time.
5. Generate far more ideas than you think you actually need
Through my research, this is the single most common thread among hyper-creative thinkers. You’re far more likely to have some great ideas hidden in the mix than someone who only comes up with ideas.
Set aside free time to write and come up with as many ideas as your brain can generate, even if they seem silly. Remember, creative people are more capable of generating ideas, so they usually miss more than they hit. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
6. Make time to play
Studies show that when we are fully immersed, Is doing The things we enjoy doing—getting out of our heads—stimulates outside-the-box thinking and silences our inner critic. Play with toys, build things, go outside…and most importantly, think like a child!
Taking time out of your day to keep a journal, even if it’s just 10 or 20 minutes, can help you get creative quickly. Write down how you feel, your goals for the day, what you’re looking forward to in the future, and what comes to your mind right away. Exploring your mind in this way and reflecting your thoughts through physical means such as a journal may be the key to carving out a more creative future.
8. Try new recipes
Cooking is another easy activity that sparks creativity. Try new recipes (or non-recipes) and let your mind wander as you follow the steps. Creativity comes in many forms, but cooking has always been what unleashes my creative side. It gives you space to add your own touch to things and even leaves a reward for your labor!
9. Go outside
I don’t know about you, but nothing seems to get you out of the funk faster than good old-fashioned vitamin D. Move your body towards success. For me, fresh air is incredibly central. Ultimately, it opens up space for a lot of creative thinking and action. If you feel stuck, try stepping outside for a bit.
10. Learn a new language
The ability to converse with people from different cultures encourages you to explore and grow in ways you never imagined. Being able to speak to new people in your native language is a very valuable skill. And the process of learning a new language is just as fun! Listening to podcasts and TV shows in your language of choice can help you acquire new vocabulary and start forming your own sentences.
11. Take a Trip
Traveling not only inspires creativity, it also pushes you into creative situations. Sometimes travel plans don’t go as planned and you have to find new transportation, unique food, or alternative accommodations. For me personally, traveling allows me to get out of my routine and do things I wouldn’t normally do. The simple act of changing things can inspire so much creativity in your life.
12. Think like an outsider
Thinking like an outsider doesn’t mean you have to jump road outside your comfort zone. Try something new, or something different from the same old. It’s like eating at a small local restaurant or taking a walk somewhere you’ve never been before. Taking initiative and sharing new ideas in meetings is also a great way to bring outside thinking into your work.
13. Try a hands-on hobby
Thanks to my hands-on hobbies, I can always add a personal touch to what I do. Knitting, painting, crafts, calligraphy, origami, and all types of hands-on hobbies are great ways to expand your skill set and unleash your creativity. Juice will flow.
Want more inspiration?
In this video, I share tips for designing a purposeful morning routine. We hope it inspires you to be quiet with yourself and connect with your inner creativity every day.
This post was originally published on April 20, 2020 and has since been updated.