~ Steve Jobs
I always thought that since I couldn’t paint, draw, write great literary works or compose masterpieces of music that I wasn’t creative. I’ve since discovered that there are many ways to be creative, including problem solving, cooking, organizing, planning and humor. But is there a way to boost creativity for those of us who feel we need it? A recent study says yes – by practicing mindfulness.
Prior to the mindfulness and relaxation practice, there was no significant difference in creativity levels or positive and negative emotions between the two groups. Afterwards however, the mindfulness based group had measurable improvements in creativity, increased positive feelings, and decreased negative emotions. These changes were not found in the relaxation training group. The improved positive feelings are important because boosting mood can lead to more global thinking, allowing connections between unusual ideas. Negative emotions such as sadness and anxiety can restrict creativity and flexible thinking.
So what does this mean for us? Taking time each day, preferably 30 minutes, to engage in some type of mindfulness meditation can raise your creativity. Being fully present in each moment connects us to our senses and heightens our overall awareness. If you’re feeling pressured to create, take a time out to relax and boost your mood with a walk or funny cat video (there are plenty!) Then when you go to bake that pie, make a business plan, or create a masterpiece, you can call on your heightened awareness and good mood to bring your creativity to the next level.
Ding, Xiaoqian, et al. "Improving creativity performance by short-term meditation." Behavioral and Brain Functions 10 (2014): 9. Psychology Collection. Web. 30 July 2014.
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