We all want to see things differently. We want to know how we can come up with interesting ideas, make interesting things and find interesting new insights into the world. But it can be hard to get into the mindset to be able to do that. How do you train your brain to spot opportunities to make someone new? How do you make sure your mind is always open to the possibilities of life? It can be hard to know how to do that. But psychologists have studied this topic extensively, and have found some great tips and tricks that will let you optimize your creative abilities.
Something this simple might seem surprising. But researchers have found that getting up from your desk and using your own two feet is one of the best ways to get your brain going as well as your body. One 2014 study found specifically that people are more creative when walking than when they’re sitting down. This is backed up by the wider literature on movement, which says that regular exercise boosts and protects cognitive functions. It’s clear that getting moving shakes your brain out of its familiar patterns and challenges you to see things differently.
Find an Inspiring Space
If you’re spending long hours working at something creative, you don’t want to feel trapped in your workspace. Positive psychologists like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi have found that what you surround yourself with directly impacts how creative you feel. Instead of working in any old corner, find or create a space that stimulates your imagination and energises your mind. Put up inspiring quotes around your desk, make it clean and attractive to look at, or find a corner of your local library or coffee shop where you feel ready and eager to work.
You might think you need to do the exact opposite of this tip to be creative. Isn’t being creative about stretching the limits of possibility, of having absolutely no limits? The answer is yes and no. It’s true that creativity involves shaking off the restrictions of convention. But if you start with the assumption that you can do absolutely anything, it can be too big to wrap your head around. To bring yourself back to the place where you can start to think, you need to give yourself something to stand on. If you like to paint, tell yourself you can only use one particular color. If you make music, tell yourself that you have to stick to a particular musical style. This way, you’ll be able to look in detail at exactly what possibilities your restrictions offer, and find new aspects of them.
Creativity is about unexpectedly finding connections between things that seem completely different. Doing this requires a lot of thought and a lot of mental space. And if you’re going to have that mental space, you can’t fill up your mind every second of the day. This can be hard to do in the modern world. With smartphones in our pockets and the internet available in almost every public place, we have endless apps, games, notifications, social media feeds and more to fill every second of our waking hours. But if you want to be creative, you’re going to have to switch some of it off. Give yourself mental wiggle room throughout your day. Let your mind wander. Let yourself be bored. Studies have found that the most creative problem-solving comes from people who are bored, as they let their minds drift and end up in interesting places.
Wrap Yourself In Blue
Color psychology looks closely at how the colors we surround ourselves with impact our mental processing, our emotions and our capabilities. It doesn’t sound like it would matter, but the colors around us can transform everything about how we think. Several studies have shown that there is one particular color that boosts creativity – and that’s the color blue. Because blue is so associated with peace and tranquillity in our culture, and associated with nature because of the color of the sky, it makes us feel calm and safe enough to start going to unexpected places. So go out under the sky or get yourself some blue décor the next time you’re struggling to be creative. You might just spark an entirely new train of thought.
Creativity is a complex cognitive force. It’s still a mystery to us, even after millennia of trying to understand it. But we do know that there are certain ways you can bring it to life. These simple tips and tricks will help you make creativity blossom in your life. Try some of them out today, and see what you come up with.
- “10 Psychological Tricks That Will Boost Your Creativity”, VeryWell Mind, accessed 28th April 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/the-most-unusual-psychological-tricks-to-boost-your-creativity-4022442.
- “9 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Creativity”, Inc, accessed 28th April 2021, https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/9-ways-to-dramatically-improve-your-creativity.html.
- “5 Science-Backed Ways to Boost Your Creativity”, Entrepreneur, accessed 28th April 2021, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/311870.
- “6 Proven Ways To Increase Your Creativity”, Forbes, accessed 28th April 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/07/30/6-proven-ways-to-increase-your-creativity/?sh=4a2a2a1a4295.