During quarantine, one of the biggest challenges is to motivate yourself to do pretty much anything. What is to be said about our artistic side? At home, there are so many points of distraction that you have to put effort to complete even the most basic tasks. The challenge gets more complicated when you’re getting sick and tired of gadgets and trying to boost creativity away from the screen. It seems as if all sources of inspiration you used to turn to before (such as walks or art galleries) are now unavailable.
For this reason and if you look for creative solutions away from screens, you’ll notice that there are a couple of offbeat ways to boost creativity. We share the most effective and unexpected ones.
1. Writing morning pages
They say that to get creative you just need to start but what if you don’t know from where to start? In this case, you should explore the “morning pages”, a creative recovery tool described by Julia Cameron in “The Artist’s Way”.
At the core of the idea with picking up morning pages as a habit lies the idea that the stream of consciousness writing will help you boost creativity. All you need to do is to free-write three pages every single morning. You can write your thoughts, memories, and plans for the week. Basically, put on paper anything that crosses your mind at this time of the day. As a result, your mind will be calmer and more focused and it will be much easier to generate ideas. What’s also exciting about the morning pages is that there are no rules to do the writing. To boost your creativity, simply enjoy the process.
2. Doing just nothing
Most people think that to boost your creativity you need to read an inspirational book, watch a great movie, or explore some case studies. Unfortunately, these things work only if your brain is not tired and exhausted. However, if you’ve already been working for hours or even days, the best way to boost creativity is to unplug.
Try to learn the art of balancing between being productive and bored and as a result, get some space for creativity bursts. Don’t mix up the notions of productivity and busyness. In the modern world, the latter is a defense mechanism for many. People prefer to be busy from early morning to late evening in order to silence disturbing thoughts. But if you’re brave enough to do nothing for a while and confront your thoughts (whatever they might be), you’ll get a chance to tap your inner creative resources. Boredom will push you to seek unfamiliar and thus, turn out to be a trigger for creativity.
Considering our extremely fast-paced contemporary world, more and more people meditate. In attempts to calm down their ever-bustling thoughts, they start with short-term practice which is totally enough to become less anxious but also to boost creativity.
Research shows that meditating for 30 minutes per day during a week is enough to improve creative performance and learn to self-regulate emotions. If you’re not familiar with the practice yet, you can start the journey from downloading the “Meditopia” app. It serves easy-to-follow guidance for those who are just getting familiar with meditation and provides personalized practices depending on goals you’d like to achieve.
Moreover, it’s a widely known fact that Steve Jobs used meditation to boost creativity so just think of how far meditation can take you.
4. Staying positive
The notion of creativity can be defined as an act of finding new problem solutions and ideas. Its key component is the fearlessness of deviation and rejection which is proved in the study of the American Psychological Association. According to it, a person who demonstrates risk tolerance will most likely demonstrate the attributes of creativity, as well as self-confidence and desire for complexity. Thus, staying positive is a way to get your creative juices flowing.
How to do that? Here are two simple ways.
1. Track your negative thoughts. The research by TalentSmart states that you give more power to negative thoughts when you concentrate on them. Surprisingly, these thoughts in their majority are only our assumptions but not facts. When you notice that your mind gets overwhelmed with destructive ideas, it’s time to stop, write your negative thoughts down, and evaluate them. Use powerful words like never and always to define if your anxiety is rational. Are you never going to solve the problem? Do you always fail in your endeavors? If you feel like the affirmative answer is wrong, try to also realize that all your negative thoughts are just a manifestation of your defense mechanism that gets activated in a stressful situation.
2. State the advantages. If you suddenly got into destructive thoughts while daydreaming, it’s time to do a quick exercise that would help you concentrate on the positive. You just need to state every single good thing that happened to you during the day. Think of something that is worth to be grateful and happy about. These could be some basic things such as a cup of decent coffee or sunny weather. A small list is enough to switch your brain to positive thinking, free your mind from intrusive thoughts, and allow for a creativity burst to happen.
Daydreaming serves a couple of functions that are beneficial for all the people working in the creative industry. According to the study, daydreaming boosts creative and future thinking, especially during the stages of incubation and problem-solving. It helps people come up with new ideas and better self-reflect. Although these functions are performed only in the case of positive constructive daydreaming characterized by playful imagery. Meanwhile, other types of daydreaming such as guilty-dysphoric and poor attentional control provoke obsessive thoughts and failure to concentrate on tasks. In short, try not to go too deep into your thoughts and govern your daydreaming within playful boundaries.
It turns out that sometimes to get creative you just need to unplug by dreaming or doing absolutely nothing. Great thoughts and unconventional ideas come only to a rested mind and it’s a valuable thing to keep in mind as you explore new ways to revisit creative pursuits. You should also remember Maya Angelou’s quote that says that you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
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