Stuck in a creative rut? We've all been there. Sometimes the moment you need to tap into your creativity is the second it shuts down. Before banging your head against the wall, try one (or all) of these ways to boost brain activity and get your creative juices flowing.
1) Allow yourself to daydream.
When you're trying to be productive and your mind starts wandering it can be frustrating, but a little insightful daydreaming is actually proven to be a breeding ground for creativity. Many great inventions came to life in a daydream, such as Arthur Fry’s Post-It Note. Research has connected this phenomenon to the fact that we're actually more creative when we're not trying to be. But all daydreaming isn't equal. The key to being a constructive daydreamer is to allow your thoughts to be free without completely disconnecting from your original ideas/problems.
2) "Create" early in the day.
Asking yourself to be creative later in the day is not your best bet. Studies show that while we sleep and the hours right after is when the "creative part" of our brain (or prefrontal cortex) is at its peak. As the day goes on, our creativity dwindles and our analytical side starts to shine. Use the morning for writing and tasks that require you to think outside of the box, and reserve editing and more systematic work for later in the afternoon.
3) Make exercising part of your daily routine.
If you've hit a creative plateau, a sweat session could be the cure. People that exercise regularly experience more than just the health benefits of being physically active. A study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that exercisers are better creative thinkers than sedentary individuals due to an improvement in divergent and convergent thinking–which are the foundation for creative thoughts.
4) Dare to doodle.
While doodling in school might have got you in trouble, experts are now encouraging it as a way to focus and improve understanding of new information. The act of doodling is considered a creative tool because it allows the brain to explore freely and can lead to interesting ideas or solutions. Next time you're stumped, whip out a blank piece of paper and let your mind go wild. There's no rule to doodling. Some people sketch drawings or make squiggly lines, while others write out letters or words. Doodling should be stress free so just put the pen to paper and see what happens.
5) Make it a point to meditate.
We often associate creativity with stimulation but forget about the need for clarity, focus and insight–three qualities necessary to have before even beginning the creative process. Meditation can help you achieve all of these things by serving as a daily reset button. Time spent meditating should be used to focus on your breathing and clear your mind of clutter. By calming your nerves and sorting out your thoughts, you become more mentally focused, and are ready and able to tackle the day.
6) Pick up a controller.
Gamers get a lot of slack for being lazy but it turns out people that play video games are actually creative, multi-tasking, decision-making whizzes. What's the correlation? Playing video games for long periods of time requires concentration and rewards players with "wins" that strengthen neural circuits in the brain. Since gaming can change a person's brain to make them a better thinker, indulging in some play could give you the boost in creativity that you need.