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Sparking More Creativity

One of my favorite things about watching my daughter, Alex, play is that it reminds me how much creativity lies within each one of us — we were born as creative people, whether we have cultivated that into adulthood or not. At two, almost three, Alex becomes totally immersed in building with her Legos and Magnatiles and she continually surprises me with the connections he makes between ideas that would never have occurred to my adult mind. Her natural free play is in stark contrast to the productivity-focused mindset I usually default to.

It has got me thinking about how amazing it would be if this creative spark were brought into our adult lives. I am learning that reclaiming our creativity could actually be a big factor in discovering our passion, finding out what makes us feel most alive, and even being better at our work. Below are some possible ways you can be more creative every day!

Draw, paint, doodle, watercolor

The sheer act of engaging in making art, of any kind, fires up all kinds of connections in the brain, so do not fight the urge to doodle while you are on your next conference call. I have been spending time coloroing with Alex, and it has been very refreshing!

Do something physical

Research has shown that physical exercise helps to force you out of left brain dominant thinking and instead adopt a more creative mindset. Exercise also increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which sharpen mental clarify. Here is a fascinating article that claims aerobic workouts may help stimulate imagination and new ideas.

Embrace boredom

I recently did a two day detox from my devices, and one of my biggest goals for the experiment was to learn how to embrace boredom. Why, you may ask? Because research shows that being bored actually propels us towards deeper thinking and creativity. The theory goes that a bored mind searches for stimulation, which moves it into the daydreaming state, which leads to new ideas. Read more about the studies here.

Instead of filling every extra minute with productivity or scrolling through your phone, give your mind some breathing room. Let your mind wander, and who knows, you just might have the “aha moment!”

Watch a TED talk or listen to a podcast

I often find that tuning into a powerful TED talk or listening to an interview with someone fascinating is a great way to shift my perspective, quickly and without a lot of effort. There are so many inspiring people out there, and nothing makes me more excited about creative thinking than learning from someone who is out there truly innovating in their field.

Make time for play

Studies show that when we fully immerse ourself in just doing what we enjoy — in other words, getting out of our own heads — it stimulates outside-the-box thinking and silences our inner critic. Tinker with toys, build something, get outside…and most importantly, think like a kid!

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