How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

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We already know being creative can make us happier and healthier. But while we may think of creativity in terms of writing a novel 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 33 fun ways to fire up that creative spark, from having a drink to taking a nap—seriously.

1. Listen to music.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Jamming out stimulates the part of our brain that controls motor actions, emotions, and creativity.Large-scale brain networks emerge from dynamic processing of musical timbre, key and rhythm. Alluri V, Toiviainen P, Jääskeläinen IP. NeuroImage, 2011, Nov.;59(4):1095-9572. Classical music might give us an extra boost: According to “The Mozart Effect,” listening to Mozart can increase creativity, concentration, and other cognitive functions. Though it’s not clear if this effect works for everyone, but a little classical music probably won’t hurt.

2. Meditate.

Stuck in a mental rut? When panic strikes, try meditating: It promotes divergent thinking, a state of mind in which we’re able to generate new ideas.

3. Get someone else’s opinion.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A friend might mention something that sparks a whole new stream of thought. The more ideas and perspectives, the better.

4. Think about something far away.

Research suggests our ability to solve problems improves when we think about events far off in the past or future or in another location. So picture New Year’s Eve 2022 or dining at a café in Paris and let your imagination go.

5. Write by hand.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Carrie Barron, M.D., and Alton Barron, M.D., authors of The Creativity Cure, advise us to skip the Word doc and pick up a pen instead. Sometimes the whole experience of writing by hand—the ink on our fingers, the smell of a fresh notebook—is all it takes to get creative juices flowing.

6. Daydream.

What was I saying? Oh, right. We tend to take a more creative approach to problems when our mind is wandering (less so when we’re hunched over a computer with a deadline looming). So don’t worry about zoning out for a few minutes.

7. Look at something blue or green.

These 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.Blue or red? Exploring the effect of color on cognitive task performances. Mehta R, Zhu RJ. Science (New York, N.Y.), 2009, Feb.;323(5918):1095-9203. Fertile green: green facilitates creative performance. Lichtenfeld S, Elliot AJ, Maier MA. Personality & social psychology bulletin, 2012, Mar.;38(6):1552-7433.

8. Gesture with two hands.

Odd but true: One study found using two hands to explain something prompts the brain to consider issues from multiple perspectives.Embodied metaphors and creative “acts”. Leung AK, Kim S, Polman E. Psychological science, 2012, Apr.;23(5):1467-9280. (It’s also possible that using the left hand stimulates creative thought, since left-handed people tend to be more creative in general.)

9. Sit outside a box.

Though it might sound a little strange, in one study, people who sat outside a box (literally) were better at thinking creatively than people who sat in it.Embodied metaphors and creative “acts”. Leung AK, Kim S, Polman E. Psychological science, 2012, Apr.;23(5):1467-9280. No cardboard container handy? Try sitting in the hallway outside a room.

10. Have some booze.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

In one study, participants who knocked back an average of three drinks were more creative than people who didn’t drink at all.Uncorking the muse: alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving. Jarosz AF, Colflesh GJ, Wiley J. Consciousness and cognition, 2012, Jan.;21(1):1090-2376. That’s possibly because a little alcohol lets us think more broadly, finding connections between unrelated ideas. But hey, keep it classy: There’s nothing creative about a pile of vomit or other less desirable outcomes.

11. Lie down.

Research found people were better at solving anagrams when they were lying down versus sitting up.Thinking on your back: solving anagrams faster when supine than when standing. Lipnicki DM, Byrne DG. Brain research. Cognitive brain research, 2005, Apr.;24(3):0926-6410. It might not fly in an office meeting, but test it out during the next solo brainstorming sesh.

12. Rethink labels.

Pick an object and break it into parts. (So a flower becomes stalk, leaves, petals, and pollen.) It’s called the “generic-parts technique” and people trained to think this way were better at solving problems through creative insight than people who weren’t given the training.

13. Laugh a little.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Haha, get a load of this! According to some studies, a positive mood can facilitate creativity because it boosts activity in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex (areas of the brain associated with complex cognition, decision-making, and emotion).Better mood and better performance. Learning rule-described categories is enhanced by positive mood. Nadler RT, Rabi R, Minda JP. Psychological science, 2010, Oct.;21(12):1467-9280. Even if you’re not feeling cheery, letting out a hearty chuckle can actually trigger a positive mood—so get silly to get creative.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

1) Want to be more creative? Get happy.

Our diary study revealed a definitive connection between positive emotion and creativity. We looked at specific emotions as well as overall mood (the aggregate of a person’s positive and negative emotions during the day). Overall, the more positive a person’s mood on a given day, the more creative thinking he did that day. Across all study participants, there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a creative idea on days when people reported positive moods, compared with days when they reported negative moods.

2) Don’t get a brainstorm group together

Because the best size of a brainstorm group is: one.

The results were unambiguous. The men in twenty-three of the twenty-four groups produced more ideas when they worked on their own than when they worked as a group. They also produced ideas of equal or higher quality when working individually. And the advertising executives were no better at group work than the presumably introverted research scientists. Since then, some forty years of research has reached the same startling conclusion. Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases: groups of nine generate fewer and poorer ideas compared to groups of six, which do worse than groups of four. The“evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” writes the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.”

But if you do hold a meeting, invite someone who doesn’t know anything about your field or what you’re doing.

Those who are new to a subject stimulate creative thinking in those who are more accomplished.

Poorer students can also help the stronger students to think about a problem differently or “outside the box,” which facilitates the type of creativity that is often needed to solve atypical problems in new, intuitive ways. Sometimes it’s a good idea for those with experience to enlist the help of the less knowledgeable.

3) Your morning shower is good for more than washing.

Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease— when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain— we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights. “That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers,” Bhattacharya says. “For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day.”

4) Take a break and do something habitual, like going for a walk or taking a nap.

Both experimentally and anecdotally this has been shown to promote “Eureka!” moments.

Have you ever struggled with a problem for a long time only to go for a walk and have the solution suddenly pop into your head? As any scientist, mathematician, or anyone else who wrestles with complex issues on a daily basis will tell you, Eureka moments born from incubating an idea are a very real phenomenon.

A 2008 study by the University of Toronto’s Chen-Bo Zhong and his colleagues found that doing something habitual, such as going for a walk, washing the dishes, or taking a nap, enables you to unconsciously access peripheral information your brain may not readily consider during an intense state of Focus. It tends to work better for finding a solution to complex problems like the best seating arrangement for bickering relatives at your wedding or a convoluted financial situation than for straightforward problems such as where to eat dinner or what color shirt to wear. And we speculate that watching TV may be too mind-numbing an activity to best allow the “aha!” to pop out of your brain.

5) Your mind is more creative when it is more loose and disorganized.

The current experiment tested the effects of moderate alcohol intoxication on a common creative problem solving task, the Remote Associates Test (RAT).Individuals were brought to a blood alcohol content of approximately .075, and, after reaching peak intoxication, completed a battery of RAT items. Intoxicated individuals solved more RAT items, in less time…

And so can just being dead tired:

Another ideal moment for insights, according to Beeman and John Kounios, is the early morning, shortly after waking up. The drowsy brain is unwound and disorganized, open to all sorts of unconventional ideas. The right hemisphere is also unusually active. “The problem with the morning, though,” Kounios says, “is that we’re always so rushed. We’ve got to get the kids ready for school, so we leap out of bed, chug the coffee, and never give ourselves a chance to think.” If you’re stuck on a difficult problem, Kounios recommends setting the alarm clock a few minutes early so that you have time to lie in bed. We do some of our best thinking when we’re half asleep.

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How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

want to purchase and read more. No more than 900 characters (including spaces).
Creativity is very complex. The science of creativity suggests some choices can dampen creative thinking. While several things can help boost creative expression. The real neuroscience of creativity suggests that the right brain/left brain distinction does not offer us the full picture of how creativity is implemented in the brain. Creativity does not involve a single brain region or a single side of the brain! Three distinct brain networks are the key to our most creative thinking.

These are known as the executive control network (which activates and operates when a person needs to focus), the default network (which is related to brainstorming and daydreaming), and the salience network (which is for detecting environmental stimuli and switching between the executive and default brain networks). The language of self-belief is rich with metaphors. We all have the innate ability to create a mental image of doing something amazing; and by really getting in touch with our senses, that thought can surface and become more real to us.

Divergent thinking is not the same as creative thinking. However, it is definitely a good indicator of creative potential!
It is not a resilient learning system; obviously, the brain has evolved in relation to the environment. However, with human beings, it isn’t just the physical environment; it is the world of language, culture, and ideas coming from social relations!

This piece unpacks the neuroscience of creativity in more detail and can help you to understand this process better so that creativity can flourish in your organisation.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brainBeing creative means coming up with new ideas and perspectives all the time. All of us would love to get a creativity boost, whether it’s at work or the secret project we’ve been working on for years.

In this article, you’ll learn 6 proven methods to boost your creativity.

6 Proven Ways to Be More Creative

1. Go for a Walk

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Going for a walk can be a huge creativity booster.

Great minds such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Nicholas Tesla, Charles Darwin, Aristotle, Steve Jobs were all obsessive walkers.

There’s much scientific evidence linking walking with great ideas. New research indicates walking on a regular basis promotes new connections between brain cells, improves memory, and staves off usual withering of brain tissue due to aging.

So if you want to boost your creativity, go for a walk.

2. Be Open to New Experiences

According to Scott Barry Kaufman, co-author of Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, the #1 thing you can do to be more creative is to be open to new experiences.

“My data so far suggests “openness to experience” is the number one thing to cultivate for both personal meaningful creativity and world changing creativity. What that means is constantly challenging yourself beyond your comfort zone, constantly questioning assumptions, being intellectually curious, and appreciating beauty. Personal growth is intimately tied to openness to experience.”

3. Take a Shower

Taking a shower is one of the most relaxing things you can do.

In his research for the book, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, Scott found that 72% of people have new ideas in the shower.

So next time you really need to come up with new ideas, just take a hot shower.

4. Live in Solitude for a While

A little bit of solitude once in a while is a good thing for creativity.

“Research has found that creative people frequently require solitude in order to generate interesting new ideas, and then turn to collaboration to spin those ideas into a coherent concept or product.”

So in order to be more creative, just take some time out for yourself.

5. Think Like an Outsider

There’s much speculation about the connection between mental illness and creativity.

Scott Barry Kaufman says you do not need to be mentally ill to be creative but there is some overlap between the relevant traits.

The key takeaway here is that you don’t need a mental disorder to be more creative. You just need to think like an outsider, like someone new to your field. This shift in perspective can play a key role in boosting your creativity levels.

6. Don’t Give Up

Creativity needs persistence. Research indicates more attempts leads to more creativity.

In an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Brian Lucas and Loran Nordgren from Northwestern University used a creativity test to show that “persistence is a critical determinant of creative performance and that people may undervalue and underutilize persistence in everyday creative problem solving.”

In other words, creativity may seem like it happens all of a sudden. But it doesn’t. Creativity is the result of trying hard and not giving up.

Over to You

Now that you know the secrets to unlock your creativity, it’s time to try these methods. Which is your favorite creativity hack? Let us know in the comments section.

If you liked this article, you may also like:

  • 4 Free Apps That Can Boost Your Creativity
  • Happiness Hacks: 6 Proven Ways to Be Happier
  • 5 Powerful Ways to Kickstart Your Day (According to Science)

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Franchise Your Business

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Business success simply isn’t going to happen without the creativity required to dream up new ideas and new visions for the future. Think about Steve Jobs, whose natural creativity changed the way we experience design and interact with devices.

Still, while we may know how important creativity is, we’re actually pretty bad at improving our own attempts at it. In one experiment at Columbia University, participants were asked to switch between logical and creative tasks during the course of an experiment; they could carry out those tasks at preset intervals or they could choose the time when they’d make “the switch,” at their own discretion.

At the end of the experiment, when participants were asked how they had preferred to work, the majority said they’d chosen the option to alternate at their discretion. Yet the results clearly demonstrated that those who’d switched at preset intervals were most effective.

So, the implication was that,if we aren’t good judges of our own performance and creativity, how can we maximize either one? Here’s what the science says.

Reduce stress.

If you feel like you’re naturally less creative when you’re stressed, there’s a good reason: As Zapier’s Kathleen McAuliffe shared, “Stress hormones inhibit activity in the brain areas involved in goal-seeking and executive function, and that causes the ‘thought spirals’ and paralysis that make us procrastinate and derail our projects.”

Goalcast’s Matt Valentine offered anecdotal evidence confirming this, based on his mother’s experience juggling the stress of managing a multi-million dollar women’s fashion business yet having a personal need to keep designing, herself.

“Being the boss, reviewing the finances and constantly managing the budget completely killed her creativity,” Valentine said. “When bills were paid and things were planned out well, she could think clearly. When it wasn’t, or she had an issue, she couldn’t design anything, to save her life.”

Stress may be unavoidable when you’re an entrepreneur, and recommendations to engage in stress-relieving activities like meditation or journaling may seem trite. But the bottom line is, if you want to be more creative, you aren’t going to get there if your brain is constantly fighting off negative stress hormones.

Leverage your adrenaline.

This next section is going to make me seem as though I’m contradicting myself here, but stick with me. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can affect your ability to be creative — but you can also learn to harness them.

One of my favorite ways to boost creativity is with skydiving and other extreme, potentially life-threatening sports. I try to go skydiving a couple of times each month, and I’ll jump three to four times a day during a session. My stress hormones are through the roof, but far from being stressed out, I gain a ton of energy from building up my adrenaline and releasing endorphins. For the five or so hours afterwards, my brain goes into overdrive thinking of new ideas.

What’s going on here? Gizmodo’s Brent Rose described the biological process that differentiates this type of adrenaline use from the more typical, negative stress-related kind:

“Most of us are building up adrenaline all day in the form of stress,” Rose said. “But then we don’t do anything with it, because we continue sitting there in our office chairs or in our cars, and it doesn’t get burned off. When we burn through the adrenaline during specific types of vigorous exercise, that’s when the good stuff is released.”

So, think about this: Set yourself up to hit the point when the “good stuff” will be released, by finding your own adrenaline-leveraging activity. Adidas Gameplan community member Orian Tal has said he’s seen similar benefit from (the training discipline) parkour, walking, running or weight-lifting. You might see the same effect from scary movies! Test different alternatives until you find the activity that triggers a positive (safe and healthy) kind of adrenaline surge in yourself .

Try something new.

Exploring new adrenaline-triggering activities offers another creativity-boosting benefit, beyond altering the way your brain processes stress hormones. It may also increase your fluid intelligence, which research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has defined as “the ability to reason and to solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge.”

Greater fluid intelligence means more creativity — and the good news is that fluid intelligence is something you can consciously improve. The key to doing so, according to a Medium piece by Thomas Oppong, is challenging your brain with new stimuli.

“Whenever you learn something new, engage in new activities, or even ponder a new concept, your brain rewires itself in response to these activities,” Oppong wrote. “Anything that makes you very comfortable is not really good for your brain development. If what you do doesn’t challenge you, don’t count on it to change you.”

The upshot? If jumping out of a plane just to boost your creativity doesn’t sound worth it, don’t worry. You can boost your fluid intelligence not just by learning to leverage adrenaline, but through the regular pursuit of new experiences. Even something as simple as a new museum exhibit or an interesting conversation with someone new can do wonders for your creativity.

What do you do to boost your creativity? Share your best suggestions with me by leaving a comment below:

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

want to purchase and read more. No more than 900 characters (including spaces).
Creativity is very complex. The science of creativity suggests some choices can dampen creative thinking. While several things can help boost creative expression. The real neuroscience of creativity suggests that the right brain/left brain distinction does not offer us the full picture of how creativity is implemented in the brain. Creativity does not involve a single brain region or a single side of the brain! Three distinct brain networks are the key to our most creative thinking.

These are known as the executive control network (which activates and operates when a person needs to focus), the default network (which is related to brainstorming and daydreaming), and the salience network (which is for detecting environmental stimuli and switching between the executive and default brain networks). The language of self-belief is rich with metaphors. We all have the innate ability to create a mental image of doing something amazing; and by really getting in touch with our senses, that thought can surface and become more real to us.

Divergent thinking is not the same as creative thinking. However, it is definitely a good indicator of creative potential!
It is not a resilient learning system; obviously, the brain has evolved in relation to the environment. However, with human beings, it isn’t just the physical environment; it is the world of language, culture, and ideas coming from social relations!

This piece unpacks the neuroscience of creativity in more detail and can help you to understand this process better so that creativity can flourish in your organisation.

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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.

Creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and approaching situations. This isn’t a skill restricted to artists, musicians or writers; it is a useful skill for people from all walks of life. If you’ve ever wanted to boost your creativity, these tips can help.

Commit Yourself to Creativity

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

The first step is to fully devote yourself to developing your creative abilities. Do not put off your efforts. Set goals, enlist the help of others, and put time aside each day to develop your skills.

Become an Expert

One of the best ways to develop creativity is to become an expert in that area. By having a rich understanding of the topic, you will be better able to think of a novel or innovative solutions to problems.

Reward Your Curiosity

One common roadblock to developing creativity is the sense that curiosity is an indulgence. Rather than reprimanding yourself, reward yourself when you are curious about something. Give yourself the opportunity to explore new topics.

While rewarding yourself is important, it is also important to develop intrinsic motivation. Sometimes, the true reward of creativity is the process itself, not the product.

Take Risks

When it comes to building your creative skills, you need to be willing to take risks in order to advance your abilities. While your efforts may not lead to success every time, you will still be boosting your creative talents and building skills that will serve you well in the future.

Build Your Confidence

Insecurity in your abilities can suppress creativity, which is why it is important to build confidence. Make note of the progress you have made, commend your efforts, and always be on the lookout for ways to reward your creativity.

Make Time for Creativity

You won’t be able to develop your creative talents if you don’t make time for them. Schedule some time each week to concentrate on some type of creative project.

Overcome a Negative Attitude

Focus on eliminating negative thoughts or self-criticisms that may impair your ability to develop strong creative skills.

Fight Fear of Failure

The fear that you might make a mistake or fail in your efforts can paralyze your progress. Whenever you find yourself harboring such feelings, remind yourself that mistakes are simply part of the process. While you may occasionally stumble on your path to creativity, you will eventually reach your goals.

Brainstorm New Ideas

Brainstorming is a common technique in both academic and professional settings, but it can also be a powerful tool for developing your creativity.

Start by suspending your judgment and self-criticism, then start writing down related ideas and possible solutions. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible in a relatively short span of time. Next, focus on clarifying and refining your ideas in order to arrive at the best possible choice.

Explore Multiple Solutions

The next time you approach a problem, try looking for a variety of solutions. Instead of simply going with the first idea you have, take the time to think of other possible ways to approach the situation. This simple activity is a great way to build both your problem-solving and creative thinking skills.

Keep a Creativity Journal

Start keeping a journal to follow your creative process and track the ideas you produce. A journal is a great way to reflect back on what you have accomplished and look for other possible solutions. This journal can be used to save ideas that can later serve as future inspiration.

Use Mind Maps and Flow Charts

A mind map is a great way to connect ideas and look for innovative answers to questions. Create a mind map by writing down a central topic or word. Next, link related terms or ideas around the central word. While similar to brainstorming, this technique allows for branching ideas and offers a very visual way of seeing how these ideas are linked.  

As you start to develop a new project, create a flow chart to track the presentation of the project from start to finish. Look for various paths or sequences of events that might occur. A flow chart can help you visualize the final product, eliminate potential problems and create unique solutions.

Challenge Yourself and Create Opportunities

Once you have developed some basic creative skills, it is important to continually challenge yourself in order to further advance your abilities. Look for more difficult approaches, try out new things and avoid always using the same solutions you have used in the past.

In addition to challenging yourself, you also need to create your own opportunities for creativity. This might involve tackling a new project or finding new tools to use in your current projects.

Try the Six Hats Technique

The “six hats” technique involves looking at a problem from six differing perspectives.   By doing this, you can produce more ideas than you might have had you only looked at the situation from one or two points of view.

  • Black Hat: Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work?
  • Blue Hat: Think broadly. What is the best overall solution?
  • Green Hat: Think creatively. What are some alternative ideas?
  • Red Hat: Look at the situation emotionally. What do your feelings tell you?
  • White Hat: Look at the situation objectively. What are the facts?
  • Yellow Hat: Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution will work?

Look for Inspiration

Never expect creativity to just happen. Look for new sources of inspiration that will give you fresh ideas and motivate you to generate unique answers to questions. Read a book, visit a museum, listen to your favorite music or engage in a lively debate with a friend. Utilize whatever strategy or technique works best for you.

Consider Alternative Scenarios

When approaching a problem, utilize “what if. ” questions to consider each possible scenario. If you take a specific approach, what will the outcome be?

By looking at these alternatives beforehand, you’ll be better able to develop creative solutions to problems.

Try the Snowball Technique

Have you ever noticed how one great idea often leads directly to another? You can take advantage of this by utilizing a “snowball technique” when you are generating ideas for your project.   If the idea isn’t appropriate for your current work, set it aside to work on later, or implement it in a future project.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

want to purchase and read more. No more than 900 characters (including spaces).
Creativity is very complex. The science of creativity suggests some choices can dampen creative thinking. While several things can help boost creative expression. The real neuroscience of creativity suggests that the right brain/left brain distinction does not offer us the full picture of how creativity is implemented in the brain. Creativity does not involve a single brain region or a single side of the brain! Three distinct brain networks are the key to our most creative thinking.

These are known as the executive control network (which activates and operates when a person needs to focus), the default network (which is related to brainstorming and daydreaming), and the salience network (which is for detecting environmental stimuli and switching between the executive and default brain networks). The language of self-belief is rich with metaphors. We all have the innate ability to create a mental image of doing something amazing; and by really getting in touch with our senses, that thought can surface and become more real to us.

Divergent thinking is not the same as creative thinking. However, it is definitely a good indicator of creative potential!
It is not a resilient learning system; obviously, the brain has evolved in relation to the environment. However, with human beings, it isn’t just the physical environment; it is the world of language, culture, and ideas coming from social relations!

This piece unpacks the neuroscience of creativity in more detail and can help you to understand this process better so that creativity can flourish in your organisation.

How to boost creativity secrets of the creative brain

Creativity is a fantastic trait to develop that can help us to perform better in a huge range of situations – not least in business, where it can help us to come up with new products, new marketing angles, new business models and unique solutions to enduring problems.

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” –Henry David Thoreau

But creativity is also an elusive abstraction that is difficult to define and even more difficult to acquire if you aren’t naturally gifted in that way. With that in mind, how does one go about helping themselves to be more creative and to think outside the box? Especially in a world that more and more often seems to encourage conformity and output?

With these powerful hacks, that’s how! Follow these tips and in minutes you’ll be having better ideas and using your brain in ways you didn’t know you could.

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” –Julia Cameron

Hack #1: Lie Down

Lying down or at least leaning back into a more supine position has been shown by many studies to boost creativity. Why’s that? Because it encourages us to feel relaxed and at ease. When you’re stressed or busy working, your body produces chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which gives you a kind of ‘tunnel vision’ and focus. That’s useful for completing a dull task, or for outrunning a lion, but it’s not useful when you need to ‘see the bigger picture’ and try to connect abstract concepts.

Hack #2: Look at a Plant

Thus anything that helps you to relax to a degree will help you to access more of your natural creativity. Another example is simply looking at plants and greenery, which help us relax thanks to our evolutionary imperative of finding fertile land and luscious green nutritious plants.

Hack #3: Use a Green Wallpaper on Your Desktop

In fact, simple looking at the color green has been shown to have the same effect, making us more relaxed and more creative. Change your desktop wallpaper to a picture of luscious green fields and you might find you work better!

Hack #4: Break it Down and Beat ‘Functional Fixedness’

Functional fixedness refers to our difficulty in separating objects from the tasks we associate them with. For example, when lost on a desert island you could potentially fashion a knife out of a set of razors, but only if you stop thinking of them as things you shave with.

To help yourself achieve these mental breakthroughs, you need to stop thinking of ‘items’ that you have access to and instead break those down into materials. So, for instance, you don’t have a razor – you have metal and plastic. You don’t have a box of matches; you have cardboard, wood and fire.

Hack #5: Have a Glass of Wine

Most of us think of alcohol as deadening our brains rather than boosting them, but when it comes to creativity this may not be fair. That’s because alcohol is a depressant and can once again help us to relax and see the bigger picture. A glass of wine is a popular choice of beverage for writers, and many famous creative types throughout history were known to use it as part of their productivity rituals.

“Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.” –William James