“If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an ‘individual,’ each of them is a ‘multitude.’” Said psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi after more than 30 years of observing creative people.
The right brain myth
Many forward thinking neuroscientists have investigating what actually happens in the brain during the creative process. What they have found out through their studies and observations is that the right brain/left brain distinction is somewhat outdated; moreover, it does not provide a complete picture of how creativity comes to be.
Creativity does not require the involvement of one brain region or one side of the brain. Rather it requires the interaction of many cognitive (conscious and unconscious) and emotional processes. The creative process starts with preparation, moves on to incubation, then illumination and through to verification.
In the 1960s, psychologist and creativity researcher Frank X. Barron conducted a serious of experiments to try and find out what causes creative genius. Barron gathered a group of high-profile creative people, including; writers, architects, scientists, entrepreneurs and mathematicians and invited them to spend several days living at the Berkely campus of the University of California.Advertising
Barron discovered that intelligence played a small role in creative thinking and that IQ alone did not explain the creative spark. Through his study Barron found that creativity was informed by intellectual, emotional, motivations and moral characteristics.
Barron isolated certain traits that were common to various individuals from different disciplines. These traits included:
“an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risks.”
Based on these findings Barron wrote that creative genius was “both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.”
The three networks
The creative process can be said to involve three networks: the imagination network; the executive attention network; and the salience network. As Carolyn Cregorie Scott and Barry Kaufman explain in their article:
“The creative brain is particularly good at flexibly activating and deactivating these brain networks, which in most people are at odds with each other. In doing so, they are able to juggle seemingly contradictory modes of thought – cognitive and emotional, deliberate and spontaneous. This allows them to draw on a wide range of strengths, characteristics and thinking styles in their work.”
Let us take a closer look at how each of these networks work.
The imagination network
Neuroscientist Randy Buckner and his colleagues state that the imagination network (also known as the default network) is involved in: “constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present.”
This network is also involved in social cognition. If, for example, we are trying to imagine what someone else it thinking, or put another way, see things from their perspective, we activate this network. It is also used to reflect on our own emotional state as well as the emotional state of others.
The imagination network was first identified by neurologist Marcus Raichle in 2001; it engages many regions on the medial (inside) surface of the brain in the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes.
The executive network
The brain’s executive network is in charge of controlling our attention and working memory. It enables us to focus our imagination and direct our attention to our inner experience without getting distracted by external stimuli.
This network is called into action when a task requires intense and accurate attention. This network is activated when, for example we are trying to understand a complicated lecture, or attempting to solve an involved problem. The areas of the brain that make up this network are the lateral (outer) regions of the prefrontal cortex and areas toward the back (posterior) of the parietal lobe.Advertising
The salience network
The salience network monitors external events and the internal stream of consciousness. The regions of the brain involved in this network are the dorsal anterior cingulate cortices [dACC] and anterior insular [AI]. The salience network is important for dynamic changing between networks.
Various stages of the creative process require different patterns of neural activations and deactivations. Sometimes it is useful for the networks to work in unison, aiding one another, however at other times it is best if the networks do it alone. What is important, however is to do away with the outdated right/left brain model of creativity and to seek to gather a more complex understanding of the intricate dance that the various networks do alone and together.
Last Updated on September 17, 2019
10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts
Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.
But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.
Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:
1. Spend Time with Positive People
If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.
Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior
When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.
Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.
3. Contribute to the Community
One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.
Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.
4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials
Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.
Some recommendations for you:
- 30 Of The Most Inspirational Quotes Of All Time
- You Are What You Listen To: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself
- 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life
- 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life
5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts
You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.
If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”
There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.
6. Establish and Work Toward Goals
It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.
Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.
7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity
Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.
Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.
8. Offer Compliments to Others
Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.
9. Create a Daily Gratitude List
If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.
Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.
10. Practice Self-Care
Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.
Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.
Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.
More About Staying Positive
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
- 10 Negative Thoughts We All Have And What We Should Think Instead
- 10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Stay Happy All The Time
Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com