Ever have those moments when no light bulbs are going off in your mind? Maybe you have a project due or an article, or maybe you’re staring at a blank sheet of paper or canvas. You desperately need inspiration, but your muse has decided to take a vacation.
Here are some suggestions to jumpstart your more creative side:
- Stop fretting and exercise.
I once had a professor tell me that if I was stuck, I should get up from my computer and walk backward around my house. She said that walking backward used a different section of the brain than sitting and writing, and that by using a different part of my brain, I might just become unstuck.
People who exercise regularly tend to be more creative than those who lead sedentary lives, a study found. Regular exercise stimulates convergent and divergent thinking, two forms of thinking vital to creativity. Convergent thinking is connected with thinking about a single solution for one issue, while divergent thinking is linked to considering various solutions for one issue.
- Be positive.
A good mood enables you to think more creatively. Ruby Nadler, a University of Western Ontario graduate student, said, “Generally, positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible yet careful thinking.”
Mood affects “the way we visually process information.” A positive mood widens how much we see and comprehend. By having a wider visual field, we have a larger pool of ideas to generate content from.
- Flip the problem on its head.
Focusing on a problem from a new angle inspires you to see and think about the problem differently.
In Real Simple, the idea of cars is used to describe how problem reversal revolutionized all of industry: “Take Henry Ford. In the beginning, carmakers kept the vehicle stationary and had factory workers congregate around it to install parts. Ford’s idea was to keep the workers stationary and move the car from worker to worker. Thus was born the assembly line.”
By only looking at a problem one way, you limit your ability to generate new concepts. By changing up how you look at a problem, you expand your thinking and may not only find a solution, but start off a string of new, exciting ideas.
How do you bring out your more creative side?
(Photo courtesy of MissTessmacher.)