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Being creative is an enriching quality that’s reserved not only for those involved in various arts. Whether you are decorating your home, writing an essay for school, developing new software for work and so on, you need creativity to excel.
Creativity is essentially a function of intelligence – it’s the ability to come up with new concepts and ideas that have value. It’s true that some people seem to be more creative than others. But it’s also equally true that creativity is a developed ability.
Here are seven ways that have helped me improve my creativity:
1. Go for a walk. According to a Stanford study, creativity improves while walking and for a short period thereafter. Other research also shows that creativity was consistently and significantly higher for those walking comparison to those sitting. I try to go for at least a 40-minute walk every day. When I return back to my office, my creative energies are peaking, and I’m able to do some of my best work. So go for a walk. It’s not just good for your health; it will also make you more creative.
2. Meditate. Studies indicate that our best ideas come from when we quiet our minds and connect with our inner most being. It’s in that meditative silent state when we connect with the infinite source of all life that new ideas and thoughts emerge from within.
3. Sleep. Get a proper night’s rest. When you go through all the different stages of sleep during the night, your subconscious is given is the ability to resolve difficult challenges and come up with new innovative solutions. Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant creative minds in history, credits many of his most innovative thoughts to getting lots of sleep – an average of 10 hours per night. If you have problems falling asleep, make sure to set aside your iPhone, computer or television at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Then take a few moments and write down a few things that you are grateful for that day. It will help you fall asleep, and wake up refreshed with new ideas and thoughts for the day ahead.
4. Sit quietly without distraction for 20 minutes. All of us have moments when we are under stress to get major projects done, and we simply have no creativity. Rather than panic, set aside all distractions (phone, email, computer, food, etc), find a restful place and just think for 20 to 25 minutes on what you have to do. By doing nothing, you are recharging your creative energy. Try it. It works like a charm for me.
5. Take on a hobby. I have a friend who takes pottery classes to get inspired. Hobbies get our minds off work and the stress that we carry in our bodies. We open ourselves to our inner being, where creativity comes from.
6. Read a book that inspires growth. I’m not sure how many times I have read a book that inspired me and expanded my view of the world. Read a book a week that makes you grow as a person, and creativity will continuously emerge effortlessly.
7. Choose your friends carefully. It’s been said that we are a reflection of our five closest friends. I prefer friendships with a variety of people from different backgrounds, who make me grow both personally and professionally. So my advice is to spend less time with small minded and negative friends. Not for reasons of feeling superior, but for the reason that your life is too important to let wrong friendships stand in the way of your destiny. So make a conscious effort to make friends with people who expand your mind. It will make you more creative both in your personal life and in your career.
David Youngren is an international speaker and the founder of Juma’s World (a charity working with children in Tanzania.) His latest book, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and What You Do was published in November 2019.