Do you ever get in a creative slump? Do you feel like you’re not the “creative type”? I challenge you to flip that narrative. I believe that as humans, we are always creating, whether we know it or not, and that each of us has the spark of creativity within us.
I used to say that I was not creative. Imagine that from someone who has been a graphic designer for almost 30 years. But I would say that is not creating, it’s just a layout process, following directions. I thought you had to build something from scratch, or make beautiful art, or write compelling poetry to call yourself creative. Hah! Silly me.
Creativity comes in many forms. Besides the obvious, here are some thoughts: cook a delicious meal, find new uses for old items, solve a problem, figure out a new way of doing an old job, redecorate a room, start a new business, write a blog and on and on and on…
Creativity enriches our lives in countless ways:
- Experience more joy. Creativity flourishes when you think positively. Find your passions and cultivate them. Embrace challenges with curiosity. Observe the conditions that help you get “in the zone.”
- Improve your physical health. Studies show that creativity exercises are an effective way to relieve stress and boost our immune system. Those who think resourcefully also cope better with aging and experience fewer declines in their cognitive functions.
- Strengthen your relationships. A sense of imagination can even enhance your personal relationships. Break out of the same old conflicts by searching for common ground. Look at challenging situations from the other person’s perspective and try out a different response.
- Perform better at work. Collaboration is integral to the creative process. Help create a more cooperative atmosphere where colleagues complement each other’s strengths rather than competing.
- Be all you can be. We all have some form of creative genius. Enjoy the pleasure of developing your own gifts. With persistence and an open mind, you’ll expand your skills for responding to all kinds of challenges.
Now, back to that creative slump. Need some encouragement? Try these ideas:
- Brainstorm. Generating ideas is usually the first step in the creative process. Put aside any judgments and just let the options flow. Now’s your chance to get zany and experimental.
- Incubate. Before inspiration hits, there’s usually a quiet time while we digest our ideas.
- Help your unconscious mind along by taking a quiet walk or a relaxing shower. Routine tasks like washing dishes can also trigger insights. Think about a dilemma right before bed, and you may wake up with a solution.
- Take action. Make a plan for how to implement your ideas. Regard every attempt as a learning experience even if the immediate results fail to pan out. Remember that successful people succeed because they take more risks.
- Lighten up. Free up your fertile mind.
- Some gentle aerobics and stretches will relax your body.
- Meditation or soft music can dispel anxieties or boredom.
- Humor is a very powerful tool for lowering inhibitions and seeing things more vividly.
- Change your routine. Any adjustment to your usual way of doing things can help you take a fresh look at life. Take an alternate route to work or visit a coffee shop on the other side of town. Expand your horizons by looking for ways to experience novelty on a regular basis.
- Observe the details. On the other hand, you can re-invent the most familiar aspects of your life by viewing them from a fresh angle. Think about how your kitchen would appear to an alien from space.
- Ignore the clock. Get up early so you can savor the luxury of open-ended time. Forget about deadlines. Focus on the present moment instead of thinking about the next task you have scheduled. Feel what it’s like to be free from hurrying. Try to remember that sensation as you start your day.
- Get a hobby. Make the most of your leisure time with creative outlets that incorporate your passions. You may delight in watercolors. Or maybe you really get a kick out of working on cars.
- Seek inspiration. Surround yourself with whatever you find invigorating. Visit art museums or go camping. Spend more time playing with your kids and getting caught up in their excitement each time they see something new.
Transform your life into a work of art by tapping into your creative side. Once you discover and develop your passions, you’ll be on your way to feeling more accomplished and fulfilled.