Welcome to the second post in our “Unleash the Creativity” series. In this series, we provide information, tips, and tricks to get your creative juices flowing: Create, Mash, Inspire.
Do you ever struggle to come up with satisfactory solutions? This article is going to talk about how a simple practice, mindfulness, can make a big difference in your creative life and help you come up with innovative ideas.
SIMPLE BUT SIGNIFICANT: GIVING MINDFULNESS A TRY
We all know physical exercise has the ability to significantly affect our health. Likewise, mindfulness can have the same influence on our cognitive ability. But don’t just take my word for it. Give it a try and see for yourself. The following video by meditation expert Martin Boroson teaches you how to meditate in a moment. The real meditation guide begins at 1:45, but I encourage you to watch it all as the introduction is relatable and quite humorous.
THIS HELPS CREATIVITY… HOW?
Creativity is a process that uses multiple parts of the brain. When one practices mindfulness, they are intentionally manipulating their brain to work in a certain way. One can optimize the creative process by understanding its stages and supporting the brain function needed during each stage.
THE FOUR STAGES OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS
APPLYING MINDFULNESS TO THE CREATIVE PROCESS
It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty here. To use mindfulness as a creativity optimizing tool you need to know a little bit about the various brain functions involved.
Preparation is when we brainstorm and come up with as many ideas as possible. For this to naturally take place we need to relax the part of our brain responsible for focused, goal-directed thought and action. Doing so allows the brain structures that are active when we are not actively engaging in mental activity to roam more freely providing a variety of ideas. A simple meditation like the one in the beginning of this post can help relax the goal-directed part of the mind and limit distracting thoughts, making brainstorming easier.
Incubation requires actively thinking about anything, but the ideas formed during preparation. Some may find it difficult to control their conscious will and continue to actively think about the ideas. These people can use mindfulness to focus on something else while their mind wanders or partake in an activity that requires a lot of focused attention, like an active sports game.
Illumination occurs naturally as seemingly unrelated subconscious ideas connect via the salience network (the part of the brain responsible for deciding which stimuli are deserving of our attention). Mindfulness can help by clearing out the unnecessary clutter in the mind, making these aha moments more noticeable.
During the verification stage, the brain evaluates ideas to see if they are workable and can be fine-tuned into something useful. Mindfulness can help by clearing the mind of other distractions and allowing the evaluator to focus on the task at hand.
This may seem complicated, but it’s really not. It’s a natural process our brains go through, but the busy modern lifestyle makes it slower and less efficient. Just think about how often you find your mind preoccupied or feel that there are not enough hours in the day. When the brain is occupied by distractions, it has trouble switching gears causing us to feel creatively blocked.
Now that you have a better understanding of how the creative process works you can make simple, but significant changes to boost your creativity and become the innovative person you dream of.
We hope this post has inspired you to get creative, mash ideas and inspire the world!
Check out other posts in the “Unleash the Creativity” series:
3 Surefire Ways To Foster Creativity In Your Classroom
Unleash the Creativity: Curiosity
Gifs via Giphy
Also published on Medium.