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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

36 Surprising Ways to Boost Creativity For Free | Shana Lebowitz, Greatist

As usual, today's edition (Aug. 5) of my daily online paper about creativity--Garbl's Creativity Connections--has several stimulating articles on the topic. But this one stood out for me because of its hands-on suggestions.

Lebowitz begins her article:
We already know being creative can make us happier and healthier. But while we may think of creativity in terms of penning or painting a masterpiece, experts say it can really mean anything from trying a new recipe to submitting an original idea during a meeting. Here we've got 36 ways to fire up that creative spark, from writing by hand to visiting a foreign country. Try (at least) one today!
Her suggestions are broken into sections based on the time to do them. And most suggestions includes at least one link to more information.

Here are some examples:

10 Minutes or Less

Listen to music. Jamming out stimulates the part of our brain that controls motor actions, emotions, and creativity[1]. Classical music might give us an extra boost: According to “The Mozart Effect,” listening to Mozart’s work can increase creativity, concentration, and other cognitive functions. It’s not clear if this effect actually exists, but a little classical music can’t hurt!
Look at something blue or green. The colors tend to enhance performance on cognitive tasks.Researchers say that’s because we associate blue with the ocean, sky, and openness in general, while green signals growth. Check out that globe the next time a problem pops up[3][4].

30 Minutes or Less

Try something new. Doing things out of habit tends to undermine creative thought; on the other hand,novelty-seeking is associated with creativity (and overall well-being). Even something as simple as taking a new route to work or experimenting with a cool recipe counts.
Get some sleep. If you’re trying to solve a problem and can’t, go to bed — you might find a better solution in the morning. Sleep restructures new memory representations, meaning we think about experiences in new ways[12]. At the very least, take a power nap, which stimulates right brain activity (the part of the brain responsible for creativity).

Long-Term

Don’t expect perfection. It’s okay if that painting doesn’t make it to the MOMA. Putting pressure on ourselves to produce something outstanding can actually make it harder to create anything at all. “A lot of people sort of secretly feel, ‘I’m not creative,’ but everyone is creative to a certain degree,” says Carrie Barron. Just try your best and see what happens.
Sit in a coffee shop. In one study, people were most creative with a moderate level of noise in the background. The noise around us is slightly distracting, so it encourages us to think a little harder and more imaginatively. (Of course, some people might need quieter or louder noise to produce their best work.)

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