Guest Post by Larry Mager
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Creativity can be expressed in our lives in many different ways. From painting to writing to experimenting in a lab, your own personal creative expression might look very different from someone else’s. Some people even use their creativity to form businesses and make a living. So how do we increase our levels of creative flow?
Recent studies are showing it is increasingly important to perform aerobic exercise not only to help our physical health, but also to benefit our mental fitness as well. Heart-boosting “cardio” exercises can actually improve the function of the prefrontal cortex of your brain. The prefrontal cortex controls thinking, memory, emotion, and – you guessed it – creativity.
Studies have shown that the benefits of cardio on the brain are increased when we perform exercise while surrounded by nature. You’re boosting your creativity when you play an outdoor tennis match, take a romantic walk on the beach, or hike your favorite mountain trail. Stanford, Harvard and even the New York Times have noted the scientific benefits of outdoor exercise on the brain’s creative potential.
Why is it so much more powerful to be surrounded by nature? If you are looking to improve your capacity for creativity and get back into your prime mental flow, you’ll want to minimize stress and distractions in order to create a productive work environment. When we’re constantly checking Facebook or sending emails, we are inhibiting our body’s natural creative process. Give yourself permission to unplug!
If, for any number of reasons, you are simply unable to perform cardio exercise outside in nature at this point in your life, don’t fret. There are still other ways you can improve your creativity including meditation and art therapy. Meditation is known to boost your creative thinking skills – and it is something you can easily do at any time, from the comfort of your own home. You can even meditate while resting in bed! And of course, we can all help our brains by avoiding drugs and alcohol – which change our cognitive functions and may decrease creativity.
Creativity is about noticing and assigning meaning to those moments that make life worth living. Some of the world’s most successful people are able to boost their own creativity by staying positive, controlling their thoughts and choosing what aspects of each day they focus on. This improves mental fitness as well as quality of life. In the famous words of the late Albert Einstein, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
Have you been pondering whether you should take the leap and quit your corporate job? Have you been thinking about whether you should ask your girlfriend to marry you? Next time you are asking yourself those big, soulful questions, it can help to get back in touch with your creativity. Go for a walk in nature, and meditate on how you want to feel in your everyday life. Eventually, the answers will start to come to you. Creativity is a practice, and the more you get in touch with it, the happier you will be.