Most people think that "being creative" is only for artists and authors. While we may produce more creative content than most, that doesn't mean that you can't be creative, too. In its broadest form, creativity is nothing more than the ability to consider multiple vantage points by connecting and combining something in an imaginative way that creates value. It is a useful skill that can be practiced and mastered by anyone, not just us creative types.
Creativity is like exercise. The more you use it and challenge yourself to push past your comfort zone, the more skilled you become. So, are you ready to stretch your creative muscles? Let's explore five techniques you can employ to dramatically improve your creativity.
5 Ways to Encourage Creativity
Surround yourself with what inspires you.
Build a stimulating environment by curating elements that facilitate creativity. I like to surround myself with beautiful art that I love and inspirational wall décor. When I need a little motivation, all I have to do is look up from my laptop and take a glance around my room. You can do the same by designing an office or work space that helps you feel energized. Seek out objects that can help trigger inventiveness (photos, quotations, desk trinkets, etc). Collect inspiring items, such as vacation mementoes, objet d'arts from your travels, or family heirlooms. You can place them in a decorative container on your desk or bookshelf. Any time you open the treasure box, you’ll feel fresh excitement. The happy link to a memorable past experience will help to spur new ideas.
Have tons of space? You can designate a physical area for creativity in your house. I have a craft room where I spend my weekends at home to decompress from a long work week and focus on all the creative activities that I love (e.g., scrapbooking, making cards, painting, etc). Short on space? Make a “creativity corner,” instead. When you specifically allocate a space for creativity, your brain will get into the habit of being creative any time you enter that area.
If I'm feeling particularly uninspired, I will even change my routine by working in a different room or location for the day. Mixing up your physical surroundings from time to time nudges your brain to embrace change and encourages creativity. Even small adjustments such as drinking tea instead of coffee or sitting with different people at lunch will better orient you to become more creative.
Always be on the lookout for sources of inspiration. They are all around you.
Don't stop the music!
Jamming out to your playlist stimulates the part of your brain that controls motor actions, emotions, and creativity. Several studies have shown that classical music, in particular, can provide an extra boost of concentration and creativity. Certain frequencies can even increase brain performance. I love my soundscapes app for DJing my own sound mixes. But, you can just hit play on your favorite song or pick up a beloved musical instrument for additional coordination of mind and body. Don't let those creative juices wane. Listen to music to encourage music-enhanced thinking.
Go old school.
As an author, sometimes I feel like I'm staring at my computer all day, especially when I am in "writing mode" and working on my latest literary project. When I feel stuck or simply uninspired, I go old school. I grab some paper and yank out a pen. The experience of writing by hand—the ink on my fingers, the smell of a fresh notebook—is often all it takes to get my creative juices flowing again. I even have two antique typewriters that I use occasionally to court the muse.
Not an author? No worries. The act of producing something by hand allows you to use multiple senses at once, which can stimulate creative thinking. Try a new hobby like cooking, knitting, or a DIY home project. Using your hands to create can spark a huge creativity boost.
Laugh until your belly aches.
Studies show that a better mood equals better performance. Laughter, in particular, triggers positivity. The lightened mood humor creates translates into mental spaciousness that makes it easier for ideation to occur, to problem-solve, and gain creative insight. So, break out that worn out comedy DVD. It could generate a significant creativity boost!
Call your mother (nature).
Remember the thrill of being a kid, spinning on the merry-go-round and making up your own cardboard box adventures? Spending time with Mother Nature is the adult version. It taps into all five of your senses, energizes your body, and stimulates your imagination. Physical activity can combat things like mental fog and fatigue, and enhance cognitive processing. It loosens up our body and our mind, and helps us feel a little freer, allowing us to more quickly generate solutions to problems and think of new ideas.