When it comes to the topic of creativity, many people have differing ideas about what it is and how it shows up in day to day life. According to Creativity at Work, “an international consortium of creativity and innovation experts, design thinkers, and arts-based learning practitioners,” creativity is defined as “the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.” Founder of Creativity at Work Linda Naiman is an advocate for helping organizations and people in all walks of life stimulate creativity in the working environment and beyond.
Contrary to what some may think, everyone can add creativity into the mix of their day, regardless of how “artistic” they consider themselves to be. Whether you work in the corporate world, volunteer at a nonprofit, are a stay at home parent or a retiree, there are steps you can take to stimulate and generate new levels of creativity, new ideas and a fresh take on daily life.
Here are five simple ways to stimulate creativity throughout your day.
- Soak in all the information that you can, even on topics you are not familiar with.
A large part of creativity is being open to new ideas and topics. Try reading books on subjects that you might not be familiar with. Go to a play you have never seen before or listen to a genre of music outside of what you would normally put on your playlist. New ideas enhance creativity in your day to day life.
- Put down that bag of chips and replace it with an apple.
The famous saying, you are what you eat, is true when it comes to creativity. Past research has shown that a large part of our thinking depends on how we fuel our bodies. Researchers in 2011 studied the effects of diet on 5,000 Norwegian adults. The study revealed that those participants who ate a healthy diet versus a fattening Western diet displayed lesser amounts of anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.
- Start writing or journaling.
Free yourself up to write whatever comes to mind. Set a timer and write for a set number of minutes or give yourself a set word count if you are typing on the computer. Ideas flow more easily after giving yourself the freedom to jot things down, without having to be polished or perfect. This exercise can be great for both creativity and productivity.
- Take a walk.
If you are looking for a simple way to enhance your creativity throughout the day, try taking a walk around the block or going for a jog, even if only for a few minutes. According to a Stanford University study, 81% of study participants were found to have increased levels of creativity after walking. Walking or physical exercise has been shown to stimulate the mind and improve levels of cognitive function.
- Switch up your daily schedule or routine.
According to an article entitled “Time of day effects on problem solving: When the non-optimal is optimal,” researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks produced a “study examining the effects of time of day on problem solving.” The study, published in the Thinking & Reasoning Journal looked at people’s circadian rhythms compared to the level of problem solving abilities. In other words, they found that morning people did their best creative thinking at night and vice versa. Night owls displayed higher levels of creativity in the morning. While it might not come naturally, try switching up your schedule for greater results.
These five tips are simple ways to stretch yourself and incorporate new levels of creativity into your daily routine. Creativity is about the process, and not creating some sort of final product or idea. Start small by doing something new, such as a art box project, or going on a quick walk around the office if you experience “mental block” at work. Whatever you do, you are sure to experience the benefits of enhanced creativity first-hand when you put some of these practices into place.