Creativity is all about turning imaginative and new ideas into reality. It is a muse that can bring success in one’s career and personal life but can sometimes feel impossibly elusive. So, what can be done to solve a ‘creativity block’ and what can we learn from the habits of ‘especially creative people’? Luckily, there are some proven methods to stimulate creativity that can easily be integrated into your life. Try these five methods to fuel your creativity.
1. Get a Hobby
When life becomes routine and mundane, we tend to lose touch with our creative sides. Finding your passion through a hobby that animates and inspires you can do more than make you happier — it can help break the routine and spark creativity. This concept has not been lost on brilliant minds. TED Talk speaker, author and expert on good ideas, Steven Johnson, writes, “legendary innovators all possess some common intellectual qualities — a certain quickness of mind, unbounded curiosity — but they also share one other defining attribute. They have a lot of hobbies.” Follow in the footsteps of great minds and get a hobby; inspiration will follow!
2. Sweat it out
Exercise is not only good for your body, it is also good for your mind. There is nothing like a yoga session or a run to help you clear your head, but why is this so? When people exercise, their bodies release endorphins, leading to feelings of well-being. In addition, according to findings in a study by neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, aerobic exercise stimulates something called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which encourages the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that not only plays a role in long-term memory, but that also helps in imagining new situations, and thus, thinking creatively. So be sure to hit the gym before your next brainstorming session.
3. Travel more
Writers and creatives have long known the benefits that travel can have on creativity. Ernest Hemingway drew much of the inspiration for his works from his time in France and Spain. And it was Proust who wrote, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” As for the rest of us, traveling still holds the power to force us out of our comfort zones, expose us to diverse perspectives and help us see with new eyes. Taking time off to travel also allows for a break in the routine and the headspace for self-reflection, just what you need to restart your creative engine!
4. Read books
Read fiction, read poetry, read OFTEN. In the words of author George R.R. Martin, “a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies ... The man who never reads lives only one.” In other words, there is endless experience and inspiration to be gleaned from literature. It teaches us to walk in other people’s shoes and to create imagined worlds in our heads, both creative processes in their own right. In addition, curling up with a good book is a great chance for quiet relaxation and slow leisure, things that our brains need to recharge and spark creative thinking.
5. Connect and collaborate
Ideas rarely happen in a vacuum. Sometimes your best bet for thinking creatively is to think collaboratively. This can be especially true at work. A study by Nielsen reported, “ideas developed by teams of three or more people have 156 percent greater appeal with consumers than those developed by teams where just one or two people have played a hands-on role.” So if you are musing on a new idea, bring your friends and colleagues to the table to act as a sounding board — everyone will benefit!
This article was written by Jessica Charwin, director of marketing at Venture with Impact, a company that offers social impact coworking retreats that inspire personal and professional growth. Want to take a creativity-boosting break or a ‘workation’ abroad? Check out our global retreats at venturewithimpact.org.