You might be surprised to hear that you can train your brain to be more creative. Often, people think that creativity is some mystical, innate skill, and you either have it or you don’t. But research has shown some strategies you can use to stimulate creativity in your everyday life and benefit from new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
1. Switch up your routine
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things the same way every day. But the more you stimulate your brain with change and novelty, the more flexible and creative your brain gets.
Keep your creative mind on its toes by reading new books, trying different foods and places to eat, and even trying different routes through your neighbourhood. Switching up your routines will stimulate your mind and get you thinking about new possibilities and approaches to life.
2. Relax the rules
So much of what you do is bounded by shoulds and oughts. From those eight glasses of water you’re supposed to drink, the right foods to eat, and how much and when to whether it’s okay to talk in the elevator, much of your life is probably restricted by how you think you should behave.
Try breaking some of the rules today. Smile and say hi to the waiter or the bus driver. Crack a joke in that silent elevator. Open up and allow your creative, maybe even anarchic brain to flourish.
3. Look around you
Another good way of relaxing your mind and allowing creativity to grow is to sit in the present and observe what’s happening around you. Work your way through each of your senses and notice your environment. What can you hear, see, smell, feel, even taste? Notice everything, and then write down what comes into your head.
When you walk down the street, look up and around. You’ll be the only person not looking at their phone or frowning into the idle distance. Don’t miss out on noticing the signs of spring or autumn. Look up and around and see how many colours and textures are right there in front of you.
4. Really talk to people
How much of your conversation is either you talking or being talked at? Step back a little and engage with other people. Don’t just talk or think about what you’ll say next. Practice active listening and give the other person space to speak.
Real conversation can open up possibilities and creative solutions you might never have thought of.