What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you think of the word ‘creativity’? Is it the image of an artist and their famous works? Perhaps DaVinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, Michelangelo’s sculpture ‘David’, Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ or Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’? Or maybe it’s the macaroni and finger paint picture on your fridge that your niece made for you?
Most people identify creativity as it relates to the arts, including paintings, sculpture, crafts, music, theater, dance, literature or poetry. Yet the definition of creativity is actually much broader. Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas in the creation of something new. But this also includes the ability to think outside of the box.
Creativity is the thing you tap into when you are expressing yourself artistically. But you also use it when you are figuring out inventive ways to solve problems. For example, you might need to get creative in order to cook dinner using the limited ingredients in your fridge. But you are also using creativity when pulling together a last minute costume for a fancy dress party or overcoming an obstacle you have in relation to a project you are working on.
Being creative isn’t just about being a talented artist or musician. It is about tapping into your imagination and working with different ideas to see what is possible. The more creative you can be in life, the more opportunities will open up to you.
But creativity is often something we tell ourselves that we aren’t good at. How many people do you know that say, “I’m not creative.” I know I was certainly one of them. Last week I discussed life satisfaction with the women present. We looked at several categories, including creativity. We talked about the meaning of creativity because several women in the group expressed dissatisfaction in this area of their life.
The good news is that you have creativity within you, whether you know it or not. But sometimes we can use a little inspiration to help get the creative juices flowing.
10 Ways to Unlock Your Creativity for a More Productive and Fulfilled Life
Be brave – You are the architect of your own life. You make the choices that determine how you experience the world around you. Be brave and step outside of your comfort zone. Try something new on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong with doing what you know you love and enjoy. However, sometimes being a creature of habit can hinder your creative side. Challenge yourself to try something fun and exciting, even if it may feel a little scary. This could mean taking the first step out onto the dance floor, introducing yourself to strangers, or getting up on stage to sing karaoke. Anything that requires you to (safely) step outside your comfort zone will tap into the braver version of yourself and activate your inner creativity.
Learn something new – Learning a new skill, such as a language, an instrument, a sport or even a card trick, is an excellent way to stimulate your brain and inspire your creative side. By challenging yourself to learn a new skill, you are activating your brain by teaching it to grasp new concepts and formulate new ideas.
Relax your comparisons – If you look hard enough, you will probably always find someone who is a little better or someone who is a little worse than you at specific tasks. This is okay. In fact, it is just part of life. Accepting this and allowing yourself to let go of the need to constantly compare yourself to others will not only reduce your stress levels, but it will also help you become a more content and grounded version of yourself. You are a unique individual living your own life. Focus on you. Encourage yourself to try new things, to take risks and to stop worrying about what others might think. If you can start to do this, you will not only begin to enjoy life more, but you will also notice your creativity begins to blossom.
Cultivate Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a practice that has been used for thousands of years across many cultures. It has been recognized as a technique that can enhance the quality of your life and improve your focus and productivity. This is why so many corporate companies, such as Google, Yahoo and Apple, are offering mindfulness courses to their staff. They are using these practices to boost morale and stimulate efficiency and productivity. There are numerous ways in which you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness based meditations are the most common form, but you can practice breathing or slow down your eating and focusing on your chewing.
Inspire Yourself – Inspiration is important in the creation of new thoughts and ideas. If you feel enthusiastic about something, you are much more likely to be creative and productive. There are numerous ways in which you may find inspiration. Listen to uplifting music, work in a stimulating and conducive environment, or be inspired by uplifting books, films or art exhibitions. Consider what it is that inspires you and find ways you can include more of that into your life.
Challenge Your Mind – Your mind, like your body, needs to be exercised on a regular basis. It’s like that old saying: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!” If you don’t challenge your mind, it will become lazy and less active, making it very hard to be creative. Activities that force your brain to work, such as puzzles, chess, crosswords and sudoku, or learning something new, are all ways in which you can exercise your brain and help keep it active and stimulate creativity.
Exercise And Eat Well – If your body is unhealthy or run down, then your mind will not be working at its optimal level. This makes creativity, or just thinking in general, a lot more challenging. By eating a healthy balanced diet, one that is rich in fresh and unprocessed foods, as well as exercising regularly, you are helping ensure you brain has all the power it needs to be able to inspire imagination and think outside the box.
Embrace Your Inner Child – That fun loving imagination that we have in us as small children often gets tucked away as we grow into adults. We become weighed down with the responsibilities of adulting. However, it is never truly gone. By allowing yourself to be a little silly, and have a little fun, you can help reawaken your inner child. A great way to do this is by spending time with children. They have a really unique and often fun way of viewing the world around them! I definitely find this hanging out with my nieces!
Explore Nature – There is something about being out in nature that is grounding and calming. Both these qualities help inspire a connection with our inner self and stimulate creativity. There is so much beauty and diversity to be explored in the world. Make some time to get out in nature, breathe the fresh air, get a little exercise and allow your creativity to become inspired.
Meditate – Meditating is an excellent way to relax, unwind and reduce stress…which is the bane of creativity! There are numerous types of meditations, including guided visualization meditation, which are an excellent way to relax and unlock your imagination and creativity. There is a huge range of meditation styles for you to choose from, many of which are completely free. Shop around until you find the ones that work for you. I’ve started adding in a 10 minute guided meditation from the Calm app into my morning routine.
These 10 lifestyle choices will help you unlock and inspire your inner creativity. The will encourage productivity and imagination, and help you gain the most out of each and every moment of your life. So become inspired and get creative!
How do you use creativity? What do you look at as creative now that you didn’t before?