Over the last few decades, there have been many advancements in the field of neurology that have improved the human race’s understanding of the brain. Each year, studies discover a new factor that affects our creative mind either positively or negatively.
The human brain contains several regions that control their respective functions. For example, the hypothalamus controls your reflexes and your endocrine system which is responsible for your hormone levels. Similarly, the frontal lobe is believed to be the region that becomes active when we use our creativity. But certain studies link creativity with multiple regions of the brain, suggesting that human creativity comes from a deeper level of our minds.
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Creativity is more than just neurology
The human brain isn’t just a closed circuit. Neurology is simply one aspect of how we can see creativity in human beings. And many studies outside the field of neurology also focus on how the creative mind works. These studies have been conducted by psychologists and psychiatrists alike who have found that the simple act of watching another person be creative brings about a spark of creativity in us. Certain studies even indicate that our habits and our experiences greatly shape our creative abilities as well.
Many creative experts suggest that their life experiences and habits have shaped who they are and the creativity they bring to their field. This is supported by studies done by Valerie van Mulukom, which suggests that practicing a particular art for long periods engages the mind to form creative ideas in the chosen field, leading to higher creativity. Consider any creative skill, and you’ll find that many of the largest and most respected names in any creative field will have spent their life chasing after the perfect creation before they became accredited. And along the way, they will have created several good and bad ideas.
How you can inspire creativity in yourself
There are certain actions that people can take to give themselves a boost in creativity. These actions can affect different aspects of your biology, psychology, and stress levels. They can also inspire you during times of mental block. We’ve taken inspiration from multiple sources to bring you the simplest tasks to boost your creativity and find your muse.
Now for many individuals, certain things may work while others may not. Regardless, we’ve included a variety of options that focus on aiding your brain’s creativity. These tips are divided based on the principles they follow and will be mentioned below.
1. Hack your mind and body
By using certain tricks to boost our mood and reduce stress levels, we can prepare ourselves for creative thinking, which is the first step before you start jotting down ideas and making your chosen projects. By using the following tricks, you can trick your body into working for you so that you maximize your creative capability.
Use Food as a Mood Booster
Doctors and researchers have found direct connections between the amount of food you consume and your hormone levels. These hormones include serotonin, dopamine, and cortisone. Cortisone is the hormone responsible for stress in the mind and body.
Serotonin and dopamine are released in response to things that make us feel good, such as a belly filled with food. Studies have found that even the sight of food can cause small releases of dopamine which is a natural mood booster. So if you’re looking to get your body and mind ready to be creative, then a very good tactic is to eat something before you get to work so that stress levels are at their lowest.
The Six Hats Technique
This technique is a psychological method of switching your way of thinking by associating a specific thought process with a color. The concept was developed by Edward de Bono as a data-centric approach to problems. And this can be applied to creative thinking as well. The technique entails the use of six approaches.
The first hat is known as the white hat and is focused on analyzing the problem at hand and relative facts to establish a potential solution without the use of any creative thinking. The main priority of the white hat is to gather information and organize it for future use.
The second hat is the red hat. And just as red is the color of passion, the red hat focuses on facing the problem with an emotional approach. Now, this does not mean a highly emotional response, rather it focuses on the emotions surrounding the problem and helps understand the instinctive reactions we bring to the table, this will help you see where your instincts are guiding you to see a new solution.
Thirdly, there is the black hat. This is essentially a version of playing the devil’s advocate, during which you see the world and the problem with a pessimistic approach to re-evaluate the potential problems by portraying them as more serious than previously thought. Using this approach, many people can find a contingency plan in case a certain idea does not work.
The fourth approach is to look at the problem with an optimistic mindset through the use of the yellow hat. This approach helps to see the other side of the black hat and to find a general direction for all ideas.
The green hat is held at number five and is the main crux of your creative process with this technique. The creative green hat is aimed at finding unorthodox solutions to a problem. When using this approach, there are no rules or boundaries including the objective itself. Everything can be altered to fit the final objective.
And finally, we have the blue hat which is the manager of all the above thinking hats. This approach decides the end goal and focuses on keeping things on track to meet the objective. These approaches can be used by a group of six people or can even be used by one individual when stuck in a creative block.
2. Find a muse
Another great way to find inspiration is to look at the creative works of other people. This way, you can get ideas from other creators and their works to form your unique idea. It could be anything. Regardless of what field you’re in, a creative idea can arrive out of the most unexpected places, which is why it is best to cast a wide net so you can catch as many ideas as possible. Below we’re going to mention just a few different ways that can help you find your muse.
Listen to Music
Music is known to directly affect the cognitive ability of a person. The only problem is that each individual has a unique response to music and it is anyone’s guess what could spark creativity in a certain individual. But to make it as easy as possible and to allow everyone to use this trick, we recommend that people try listening to music that they usually don’t choose. This way, they are providing their brain with new content that can provide some inspiration.
Take a Walk
Changing your environment or getting out of your chair can be a good thing for creatives who are trying to brainstorm. Don’t shy away from the chance to get out of your seat and look at the world for inspiration. Studies have shown that walking not only helps release low levels of endorphins but also helps improve blood flow throughout the body. But the biggest benefit of taking a walk is that you may stumble across your eureka moment when you least expect it.
Get a Random Person’s Opinion
When facing creative blocks, outside the box thinking is exactly what you need. This outside thinking can come in the form of a conversation about your creative problem with a person who is unrelated to the field. By getting their opinion, you can find a new perspective on an old problem.
Watch a Video
A lack of inspiration can be tackled in several ways. But watching video content is perhaps the easiest and most effective method. This video could be anything from a YouTube video or a TED talk and could be on any topic you like. By watching a video, you can engage your brain and maybe even get the idea you’re searching for.
Take Inspiration from Industry Leaders
Another great place to find a muse is with the leading creatives in your industry. Search for their past works, look through their blogs and social media, and maybe even send them a short message asking how they would tackle a particular task related to their profession. By speaking to someone who has had many good and bad ideas, you can learn from their experience and maybe even find a completely unrelated idea that could turn out to be better than all your other ideas.
3. Organize your creativity
Now that you’re well-fed, in a good mood, and have a muse for your next project; it’s time to organize all your ideas and find the right one. It may be right in front of you or it could take a little brainstorming. But in the end, the first step is always to organize yourself and get the ball rolling on your creative work.
Use a Journal
Inspiration can strike anywhere at any time. This is why you can’t just keep a phone on you to type your idea. Instead, use a hand-sized journal that you can carry in your pocket with a nice pen. Not only will this make you feel creative, but studies suggest that writing things by hand helps people remember them more effectively without any additional help. You can improve your brainstorming drastically by always keeping yourself open to ideas and being willing to write them down anywhere you can.
Make Mind Maps
One of the biggest benefits of using a journal is that you can create associations that just aren’t possible on electronic devices. By making mind maps and writing notes on the side, you can create an overwhelming amount of information that can be linked together to act as your idea board. At any point, if you feel lost or find yourself moving away from your objective, this mind map can help correct your course.
4. Take action
One of the biggest problems faced by creatives is that they just can’t convince themselves to start working until they’re completely sure of their idea. And this is a fairly common problem with a very easy solution. That solution is to, in the everlasting words of Nike, “Just Do It!”. By taking action without a plan, you can find a plethora of bad ideas that will eventually be canceled out by one great idea. In short, you have to do whatever you can to get the ball rolling.
Switch It Up
To get your creative juices flowing, you could try and get out of your routine. If you work at an office desk with a lot of people, try going to a quiet place and sitting alone. The change in your environment can help you find new ideas that would usually be drowned out by background noise in a public space.
There are many other ways to get out of your routine as well. Taking a different route to work is one of the best ways to open your mind before you sit down to work. Of course, it can also be something as minuscule as having a different beverage while you work.
Embrace the Bad Ideas
Not all ideas will be perfect. Maybe none of them are. But the bad ideas can be the inspiration that pops out at you at an unexpected moment. This is why we recommend taking a few risks and trying an idea even if it seems bad. Many of the best writers and designers end up with piles of unused ideas just lying in their trash cans until there is an epiphany portraying your best work.
Finding inspiration is hard, especially because the same things may not work for two unique people. But the best way to find out what works for you is to try a few different things and get out of your comfort zone. In the beginning, it may feel as though the above-mentioned tips aren’t working. But eventually, the changes will help you find an idea when you least expect it.
Guest author: Zeeshan Hussain Bhatti is a blogger by passion and Digital strategist at storage units bristol & Tech Geek by profession, having a tech background and experience in I.T development services, Zeeshan is eager towards exploring the modern-day tech landscape. With having interest in technology, Bhatti writes about leading edge technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Automotive Industry, Logo Designing and much more.