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How to Boost Creativity
Best-selling author, Elizabeth Gilbert once wrote: “If you can just release yourself from the anxiety and burden that might be associated with the word ‘creativity’, you’ll see, in fact, that you are an enormously creative person.”
You might think, “easy for her – a successful writer – to say!” I thought that myself, too. But after some research, it turns out even science says that anyone can be (and is!) creative. Read on for some ways to help unleash the creative part of you.
Get off social media
Have you ever been browsing Facebook on your desktop and then grab your phone, open the Facebook app and start browsing there simultaneously? Yeah. Me neither.
If you haven’t actually had this experience, I am very impressed. Please teach me your secrets. But if you have, I might be able to relate.
Can you imagine how much time is spent wasted being a scroll zombie? Time stolen away from doing things like writing, reading, coloring, exercising, or … just doing nothing at all? In the case of social media and creativity: nothing is better than something.
Social media robs you of precious creative-boosting activity time. It’s engineered for you to constantly watch people’s highlight reels. And, that can make you mildly to severely depressed. Among many other troubling things about depression, lack of creativity is one of them.
I often joke that one thing I learned in college was how to procrastinate really well. It’s true I did my best work at the very last minute. If there’s any correlation between time spent procrastinating and quality ideas, this article might be some of my best work.
It turns out, there is. Research shows that the act of procrastination leads to better ideas. Twenty-eight percent better according to a study done at the University of Wisconsin. As long as you take a look at the assignment before procrastination begins, you will benefit. Putting off a project gives your brain time to work through more ideas, and more exposure stimuli that helps ideas develop.
Stop saying “I’m not creative”
The more you say something, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Beyond that, it’s just not true. Everyone is born with some level of creativity. As a child, you had an imaginary friend, didn’t you? If not, well then certainly you named your dolls or action figures and cast them in different role-playing scenarios.
I’ve heard people say: if you’re bored, then you’re boring. First of all: rude. Second of all: not necessarily true. If you’re bored, you’re able to be more creative, as long as you embrace the boredom instead of seeking to eliminate. Researchers believe that a restless mind craves stimulation. For this reason, ennui is a positive state because it propels us into a state of deeper thought and creativity.
Embrace the mess and the unknown
Besides being famous for their ideas and innovation, Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerburg had one other thing in common: really messy desks. It could be causation or merely correlation, but messier people choose novelty over convention – with both their drink orders, and their professional choices. A little chaos in your periphery is often what helps your mind explore new ideas and make connections it might not otherwise.
Destress, lose inhibition (write drunk, edit sober)
When I feel overwhelmed at work, my “fight or flight” reaction becomes more “flight”. My brain shuts down, and I’m unable to think straight. Contrarily, when in an environment when I’m relaxed and stress-free, I don’t feel cloudy or bogged down by analysis paralysis and my brain is more freely able to make connections.
Looking for ways to keep the creativity flowing in a highly-regulated environment? Check-out this post.