Train Your Brain!
Stress hinders creativity, so spend at least 20 minutes every day sitting quietly and just breathing deeply. Clear your mind by focusing only on what you are feeling in that moment. ‘Meditation is the ability to think and act calmly. It’s very beneficial, as it can counteract anxiety,’ says life coach Julie Elliott of Simplicity Coaching.
2. Change your workspace.
Create a different working environment by facing in another direction, using coloured pens instead of a black ballpoint, or even moving to another room. ‘Doing things differently will lead to creative ideas and solutions,’ says Julie.
3. Get active.
Go for a walk around the block before a brainstorming meeting. ‘Exercise increases the production of new neurons. It also pumps more blood to the brain, bringing with it the oxygen and glucose crucial for thinking on your feet,’ says Julie. Doing three 10-minute bursts of activity daily will have a positive impact on your memory and ability to think creatively.
4. Write it down.
Every morning or evening, spend 15 minutes writing your thoughts in a journal. ‘This practice will give you access to your subconscious, where you store a lot of ideas,’ says Julie. It’s also a great way to clear your mind of any worries or concerns, leaving space for creativity instead.
5. Practice makes perfect.
When problem-solving, our brains are wired to automatically think of the same options we’ve used before. ‘We come up with the same or similar solutions, regardless of if they were good or bad,’ explains life coach Megan Galloway. Counter this by thinking of a potential problem and then brainstorming new solutions. Set yourself an unrealistically high target and see how many you can come up with.
6. Tickle your funny bone.
Read a story that is humorous or chat to someone who always makes you laugh. ‘Laughter and creativity work together to release the feel-good chemical dopamine,’ says Julie. Doing this regularly will help your brain to think clearly and encourage it to look for new ideas.
7. Stop what you’re doing.
Instead of spending hours digging for a creative idea, do something else for a while. When we give up temporarily, a creative answer can appear. ‘It’s as if our brain continues to mull over the problem subconsciously and then out pops an answer,’ explains Megan.
8. Have fun.
Games and puzzles make for a great cerebral workout – studies have shown that these activi-ties improve memory and encourage the brain to think more logically and creatively.
9. Eat well.
You can improve your brainpower by adjusting your diet. Make sure you get a daily dose of vitamins and minerals such as omega 3, iron and vitamins B and C, all of which are essen-tial for a healthy, active and creative brain.
10. Focus on one thing at a time.
‘Thinking of several things simultaneously con-sumes a lot of mental energy and reduces our capacity to attend to any of them,’ Megan says. She suggests the following exercise: name the items buzzing around your mind, identify the emotion attached to each, then put each one aside, as if packing it away in a box.