Creativity can be an elusive little creature.
Most of us feel a little niggling somewhere inside that cries out to create, to leave our mark on this world in some little way. Some even claim that creating something, anything, is one of life’s most sacred needs.
On a more practical note—even if you’re not in a “creative” field—discovering a greater flow of creativity can be imperative for anyone involved with problem-solving in their daily work, and can also lead to increased job satisfaction.
But what if we simply don’t know how to get our creative juices flowing?
Thankfully, there are lots of things we can try to shake up our creative muse, and add a little fun and excitement to our lives while we’re at it.
This seems obvious, but it’s surprising how easily we can get caught up in our routines and schedules without giving much thought to the last time we tried anything new.
Some small ways to start are:
- Sampling a new food
- Trying a new physical activity such as paddle boarding, rock climbing, or an exercise class
- Try a team sport like bowling, slow pitch, or soccer
- Find ways to “mix it up” on a daily basis, like taking a new route to work, listening to a new genre of music, or reading an article about something you’ve always wanted to know more about
Existing art and ideas are a great jumping off point for incubating new ideas of your own. You never want to copy anyone else of course, but creativity breeds creativity. Try out some of the following:
- Go to the theatre
- Visit museums and galleries
- Support a local author at a book signing or just hang out at a bookstore and read the covers for inspiration
- Check out the open mic night at a music or comedy club
- Attend festivals, free concerts, book fairs, entertainment conventions, etc.
We’re more creative than we think. The problem is, interesting ideas often wander through our minds… then are abruptly forgotten. Thankfully, most of us already carry around a “notebook” to record our thoughts. Simply use the notes function in your smartphone and voilà!
Some places to start:
- Keep a dream diary – write them down as soon as you wake up
- Ideas often come to us when we’re in the shower – keep your phone nearby (and a towel!)
- Don’t be afraid to write down ideas that come to you when you’re watching TV, movies or reading books. These can be great “jumping off” points
- Journal about everything and nothing – it’s surprising what thoughts come to us if we just make an effort to get started
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s so true – if our minds are too busy with the mundane of the day to day, it’s much harder to dream up creative ideas. The following will not only allow creativity to flow, but they will also ease your stress:
- Your smartphone comes in handy again for this one. To calm the ever-whirring mind as you try to fall asleep at night, quickly jot down the to-do list that keeps rolling around, or the task you forgot to accomplish today. Knowing the information is saved, you are able to let it go
- De-clutter your living space and work areas. Having organized spaces helps to have an organized mind, plus a more beautiful environment promotes more beautiful ideas
- Ponder, but be careful not to ruminate. Instead of allowing the negative thoughts to continue running through your mind, try contemplating the wondrous things in the world like nature, artwork or great food
- Try meditating, and if you don’t have time to sit for several minutes, start by simply taking three deep breaths, focusing on calming your mind and settling your body
- Stop comparing yourself to other people – it’s the crusher of creativity
- Experiment, whether it’s with some type of formal art like painting or just rambling your thoughts into your phone’s voice memo app.
- Let go of the outcome – without mistakes and blunders, there is no progress
- Challenge yourself, even if you think it might be hard – ESPECIALLY if you think it might be hard
Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, the next time you find yourself with some spare time, try out some of the above. You might be surprised with the creativity that lies inside you.
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