Take a second and think about the role creativity plays in your life. Do you consider yourself a creative person? Do you utilize your creative potential and carve out time for it? Do you wish you had more time to explore it within you?
While it may seem hard to describe, the dictionary defines creativity as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.”
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We’ve outlined the importance of routines and how sticking to them will help you maintain your creative energy. Now here are some daily habits that you can put in place to help your creativity blossom—and thrive.
As Joan Didion said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Taking time to write down your thoughts not only helps your creative energy flow and gets your thoughts down on paper, but also is a therapeutic daily habit. When you dedicate time to focus solely on your thoughts, without putting too much pressure on the output element, you may come up with a brilliant new idea—or simply set time aside for yourself. In fact, there are many studies on the art of journaling and how it increases one’s daily functioning, improves communication skills, and improves one’s physical and psychological health.
Like journaling, mediation is a time dedicated to sitting with your thoughts. This can have many benefits on your creativity, especially in a world that is keen on multitasking and constantly being plugged in. Meditation can quiet your racing mind and help you get to an imaginative and creative space. In fact, neuroscience findings show that it correlates with brain wave activity—which is increased in areas associated with the creative and mystical during mediation.
There has been a long history of researchers linking creativity with many kinds of movement. And this doesn’t have to be an extreme, strenuous workout. A recent Standford study proved that walking boosts creative inspiration, especially when compared to sitting down.
“A person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down, one of the experiments found.”
Those who are avid readers may already be very familiar with the many benefits of reading: not only does it exercise your brain and improves your vocabulary, but it also boosts your empathy and imagination. People who read literary fiction specifically are more likely to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.
How does this relate to your own creativity? Well, the more imaginative you become through other people’s work, the better you’ll be able to carry out empathy—and creativity—in your own.
Unplugging from electronics
This one may seem like it goes hand-in-hand with every tip on this list—and it does, but its importance should only be reiterated. Unplugging from electronics—even if it’s just for thirty minutes to an hour a day—can radically improve your brain’s ability to generate original thought and find inspiration from within. While the internet can be a great place to find ideas from others, it’s important to carve out some time away from it too.
Last but certainly not least, and one you may not typically think of, resting is crucial to fueling creativity. The benefits of sleep have recently been examined more, as more than a third of Americans are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis according to the CDC. Neuroscientist Matthew Walker shares in his book Why We Sleep, “Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day—Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death.”
If you make time for a full night’s rest or carve out thirty minutes for a nap, you are doing yourself—and your creativity—a favor. This will allow you to clear your mind, focus, and eventually become more creative in your day-to-day life.