Whether you are a painter, a business executive, a grocery store checker, or a stay-at-home mom or dad, you draw upon your creativity every day. That delicate, often elusive quality presents itself in so many forms that it is difficult to know where its boundaries lie. Problem-solving relies upon creative skills, just as much as visual artistry, so it’s vital that you keep your energetic channels open for the creative juices to flow.
While some of us feel it oozing from our every cell, others find it difficult to connect to, especially when we need it most (if you’ve ever had “writers block,” you know what I mean!). Here are 10 ways to bring more creativity into your life.
1. Go for A Walk
Sitting at your desk and feeling stuck? Science has backed up what you might be inclined to do naturally when you need a boost of inspiration. Turns out subjects gave more creative solutions to tests when walking than when sitting. While fresh air certainly brings a fresh energetic outlook, creative benefits exist whether you walk inside or outside. So hop on that treadmill, or walk around the block! Get your heart pumping, and see what new ideas you can come up with.
2. Connect to Your Inner Child
We are all born artists. Children have a way of letting creativity flow through them without any resistance at all. What did you like to do for fun when you were a kid? Did you love to ride bikes or jump on a trampoline? Try not to limit yourself when choosing your area of “play”; join your kids on the swing set or while playing checkers, and hold space for your inner child to run wild.
3. Try Feng Shui
The Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing your environment to balance areas of your life has an entire area dedicated to creativity. The site Feng Shui & Beyond suggests that placing whimsical and playful items in a certain area of your home or office can help you overcome creative blocks and find greater fulfillment in your hobbies and job.
4. Get Colouring!
The current colouring book trend is a great one for boosting your creativity. For about 10 dollars, you can purchase an adult coloring book and some coloured pencils, and unlock your inner artiste by using different colours and patterns. Whether you sit down for a full-on coloring session or simply colour here and there while talking on the phone, the act of putting pencil to paper is calming and meditative. It’s a simple activity that gets your hand and mind moving in a productive and imaginative way.
5. Take a Different Route to Work
By shaking up your routine, you activate different parts of your brain and keep yourself sharp. It’s all too easy to go on autopilot during your commute, when instead you could broaden your perspective by choosing a new route or mode of transportation every so often. When you do this, you start to see things differently, like becoming a visitor in your own town.
For example, if you normally drive, try taking the bus one day. If you always walk the same six city blocks, turn left instead of right to see something new. You’ll be amazed at how varying your routine can unlock ideas and inspiration.
6. Share Your Photos on Social Media
Nowadays, everyone is a photographer due to the awesome technology of our smart phones. Rather than just snapping pictures of your friends and family, how about taking photos of elements in nature or creating a still life with some every day objects? Look at Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. In fact, if you share your photos on social media, you might be more likely to curate a beautiful image to share.
Yoga teacher Elena Brower makes taking a morning still life photo a part of her daily personal practice and posts it on Instagram. By sharing your creations, you not only develop your creative momentum, but you contribute little nuggets of beauty to the world along the way.
7. Read Different Kinds of Books
Obviously, reading opens and expands your mind to new and interesting ideas. But do you vary the types of books you read? Take inventory of your inclination when choosing books. Do you tend toward memoirs or biographies? Self-help books or novels? Try varying the kinds of books your read to get your mind working differently. Follow a political memoir with a romance novel, and you just might come alive with a rush of inspiration.
8. Try a New Skill
When was the last time you tried your hand at a new skill? If it’s been a while, now is the time! Sign up for those voice lessons, take up watercolors, or try a weekend of snowboarding. You’ll make yourself proud while at the same time expanding your experiential repertoire.
9. Be a Good Student
Author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki said, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." A concerted effort to learn from everyone, everywhere, is a key component of keeping your mind open, alert, and receptive to new information and ideas. When you think you know all there is to know on a subject, you cut yourself off from the myriad possibilities available to you, so keep your eyes open and your heart humble as you move through your daily life. Every single person you encounter has something to teach you.
10. Do Yoga and Meditate
If you needed another reason to practice yoga and meditation, here it is. Yoga and meditation help you tap into the natural reservoir of creative energy that is flowing constantly. Yoga postures open the chakras and get the life-force moving, while strengthening and energizing the physical vessel that supports you. Meditation calms the “monkey mind” that often gets in the way of the “muse” from speaking to you and through you. On the most basic level, doing a simple Downward-Facing Dog gets your head below your heart and gets your blood pumping in a different way. Couple it with some conscious, deep breaths, and you are sure to wake up your creative centers and be reinvigorated on every level.