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How to Cultivate Creativity

Creativity is the capacity to produce new and innovative ideas and then transform them into reality. Creativity involves looking at our world and its problems in completely new ways, recognizing patterns that might escape others, and making unlikely connections that produce novel solutions to our lives.

Does it ever seem strange how creativity came naturally when we were kids? It seems that a huge chunk of the creative thinking and imagination has been gradually subtracted from our personalities by rules, conventions, and simple habitual thinking. The good news is that creativity is a large part of human nature and can be restored at any time.

Ways to Cultivate Creativity

Studies have shown that creativity can indeed be learned at any point in life. When you boil creativity down to its most essential components, it is nothing more than the capacity to extend an idea from its conceivable foundations. This is done through experimentation with different perspectives and recognizable patterns to produce an outcome.

This capacity can be fostered and cultivated by acquiring and practicing new thought processes. If you are looking for creative solutions to your life and efforts, consider how the following practices can improve your thought process and perspectives.

man with headphones Incorporate Music

The musical experience compels the body and mind to unite in a coordinated effort that allows for enhanced mental processing. According to the Mozart effect, practicing and even just listening to music has a marvelous benefit to the brain and greatly improves creativity among a host of other benefits.

By exercising skills of coordination as well as the recognition and interpretation of musical concepts, music challenges the creativity. 1

Talk With Your Hands

When trying to formulate a creative solution, studies have shown that gesturing with both hands can be helpful. This may sound strange , but when working to describe the productions of the brain with both hands, the brain is prompted to view the issue from multiple directions. This could be why left-handed people have been found generally more creative. 2

Step Away From the Problem

Another good way to get a better perspective on an issue is to block it out of your mind altogether. Has this ever happened to you? After mulling over a problem or situation for hours and approaching the issues from all possible angles, you finally put the whole thing out of your mind without coming up with an acceptable solution. Then, perhaps hours or days later while showering, jogging, or maybe cooking, suddenly the solution you have been seeking presents itself in astounding detail.

This has become known as forcing the solution into incubation. In other words, after providing your brain with all the data on the subject, you purposefully disengage from the matter at hand. This breaks the fixation and possible “tunnel vision” that can result from focusing on a problem for too long. As the mind regains its natural perspective, new and creative solutions reveal themselves magically. 3

hot tea Choose Your Beverages Carefully

While coffee can be a great option for improving concentration and sharpening focus, it actually can prevent creative juices from flowing. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors which keeps the mind from wandering. While this may be advantageous when performing tedious tasks, it blocks creative ideas from flowing. 4 If innovative associations are what you are looking for, you may consider having some tea.

While some teas have caffeine, it is in significantly lower doses than a coffee. Psychologically, tea has been proven to improve mood, work performance, and creativity. 5

Take a Walk

Getting up and taking a walk around is another great way to summon a boost of inspiration. Studies performed at Stanford University have found that it is not the environment but the act of walking itself that boosts creativity levels.

The idea has led some of the greatest minds like Steve Jobs of Apple Computers, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to schedule many of their important meetings on a walking path. 6

Get a Fresh Perspective

One of the greatest ways to train the mind to look at things from a new perspective is to look around. One place to look is at industry leaders or others moving in the same direction you are.

Seeing how other similar leaders solve problems and reach innovative solutions can inspire you to improve on the process. Even asking for an opinion from an expert or someone in an unrelated field can reveal a world of perspectives you may never have considered.

office with creative space Make a Creative Space

Some experts suggest preparing a creativity corner in your home or office. This place should be set up with all the visual and didactic materials necessary to stimulate your creative mind.

Take full advantage of this space by including project outlines on a vision board so this area can become part of your thinking process. This will cause the brain to begin a habit of creative thinking when in this specific environment. It can also help minimize distractions when formulating solutions. 7

Practice Creativity

Instead of worrying if creativity will arrive when you need it most, practice making yourself ready for creativity whenever it arrives. Keeping a notebook at arm’s reach to handwrite thoughts and ideas as they arrive is important. It may seem that a lot of these ideas are a pure waste of time, but the time spent recording ideas makes it easier to come up with new ones.

Free association is another great way to practice creativity. Even though some of what you produce may seem obscure at the moment, later on you may find a solution or at least the beginnings of one from a previous thought. The practice of strengthening creative thought processes will allow the function to become second nature when you need it most.

Final Thoughts on Improving Creativity

The final takeaway here is that creativity can be learned just like any other acquired skill. In the same way, the only way to truly master creativity is by regular committed practice.

As you keep practicing, it will get easier. If you are still having a hard time beginning, don’t forget the impressive power of essential oils and organic aromatics. These act to refresh and empower the mind and set the scene for creative genius.

Photo credits: EugenioMarongiu/, SebastianMorenoE/,,

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