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6 Effective Ways To Train Your Creative Mind

6 Effective Ways To Train Your Creative Mind

Ever felt yourself on the brink of an amazing idea, but suddenly, your creativity seemed to grind to a halt? If you’ve experienced this annoyance before, you’re probably keen to learn how to get the creative juices flowing again.

In this day and age, creativity is as important as it’s ever been. Even in the business world, the greatest success is achieved through innovation, for which we must have creativity!

If you’ve ever felt let down by your current level of creativity, it’s time to work on improving it. You may be surprised to realize that intelligence only plays a modest role in creative genius.

It’s actually far more complex than we first imagined. In fact, creativity is complexity in itself. There are no quick or easy fixes, however, you can gradually boost your creativity with these 6 simple mind shifts.

1. Believe Creativity Can Be Grown

While this may seem obvious, it’s essential for you to harness all your willpower from the start. The mere act of belief is one of the most powerful motivators.

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You must throw away the concept that creativity is an inborn gift. It’s true we naturally develop a certain level of creativity, but then it’s up to you to encourage and allow its growth.

Align your belief now and you will commit yourself to becoming more creative.

2. Choose Lateral Over Vertical Learning

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    Broadly speaking, there are two different ways we acquire knowledge. Vertical learning is specialization in a particular knowledge field, whereas lateral learning gives us a grasp on a variety of different knowledge fields.

    Naturally, you’ll find yourself gravitating towards one or the other. If you’re typically a logical thinker, you’ll often lean towards vertical. However, making an effort to focus on lateral learning will fuel your creativity greatly. Having a wide variety of knowledge in different fields will give your creative side more resources to flow through.

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    3. Train Your Creativity as You Would a Muscle

    Steve Jobs was without a doubt a creative inspiration to all of us. During his time, he shared a wealth of creative wisdom, including this quote:

    “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs

    However, it’s worth knowing that Jobs already had some mighty creative muscles in place. Without them, it’s difficult for us to achieve the same.

    Fortunately, we can train the creative functions of the brain much like we train our muscles in the gym. By providing regular stimulation and pushing ourselves, growth can be triggered.

    Practice stretching your creativity using methods such as brainstorming or writing as many ideas as you can on paper. As you become more creative, you’ll notice ideas flowing more easily.

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    4. Dedicate Time to Creativity

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      If you’re serious about becoming more creative, you’ll need to dedicate time to it. Save at least one free hour per day solely for your own creativity. Allow your mind to wander without daily activities and duties interfering.

      Don’t see this as unproductive time, see it as essential playtime for your creative side. When you grant your mind this freedom, you’ll be amazed at what you can come up with!

      5. Keep a Thought Journal

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        Have you ever experienced a spark of creative genius, only to have it fade away before you can act upon it? This is actually quite common, even for the greatest creative thinkers of our time.

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        Creativity is introspective and sensitive to our feelings. Ideas can come and go as fleetingly as our emotions. Inspiration can strike at any moment and be gone in the next.

        Creative geniuses often keep thought journals for jotting down these thoughts as they go about their day. Start capturing your fleeting thoughts on paper, then you can revisit them later for deeper reflection.

        6. Consciously Use Both Sides of Your Brain

        Creativity is not black and white. It’s not a simple case of left-brain for logical and right-brain for creative thinking. True creativity comes from a harmonious balance of both.

        Becoming more self-understanding will help bolster your creativity. Start by identifying your usual thinking patterns and purposefully balancing yourself out. For instance, if logical thinking is too dominating, you should simulate the creative side with activities such as drawing or painting.

        Ultimately, you should be able to easily transition between both creative and logical thinking. Once you have mastered this, you will be well on your way to becoming a true creative genius!

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

        Posture

        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

        Facial Expressions

        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

        2. Relax Your Face

        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

        3. Smile More

        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

        4. Hand Gestures

        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

        5. Enhance Your Handshake

        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

        Final Takeaways

        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

        Reference

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