Getting away from the house, office or regular workspace has an amazing effect on the creative mind. But even for those with the freedom to work from anywhere, creativity soars highest in a particular place- cafes and coffee shops.
Historically, some of the greats artists, writers and musicians frequented cafes to ponder on great ideas and cultivate their creative energy. Now they’ve become a hotbed for modern creatives such as entrepreneurs, graphic designers and even DJ s. Yet most of us are still not completely sure exactly why we gravitate towards our favorite cafes.
Some say it’s the whiff of freshly brewed coffee and getting a caffeine fix that fires up creative juices. While others claim there’s something unique about the atmosphere, an ambiance that compliments the creative mind. In actual fact, science has found some interesting links between creativity and cafes, some of which may surprise you!
In actual fact, science has drawn some interesting links between cafes and creativity, some of which may surprise you!
Silence Sharpens Focus – Ambient Noise Boosts Creativity
You may already be aware that working in silence environments helps you focus. When you are in the midst of complicated problem solving or performing fine detailed work, one annoying noise is enough to break our concentration.
However, when it comes to creative thinking, ambient noise has been seen to improve creativity. Specifically, typical coffee shop ambient noise of 70 decibels was seen to be optimum. Whereas quieter than 50dB and louder than 85dB caused creativity to drop off.
It’s believed this level of moderate ambient noise is just enough to distract us, allowing us to think outside the box. This helps to broaden to thinking and lends itself to the discovery of new ideas. So, the creative magic in the air of your favorite coffee shop is actually the perfect ambient hum for your creative mind.
You should optimize your creativity by choosing your coffee shop wisely, based on how busy or noisy it is. If you are tied to a workspace and it’s particularly quiet, try listening to Creativity background music from Youtube. Otherwise, there’s an ingenious application that can mimic the cafe’s ambient noise called Coffitivity.
Dynamic Environments Stimulate Creativity
Ever noticed how creativity dries up if you remain in the same environment or routine for too long? It’s only when you break the cycle or change your environment that the bolt of creativity strikes.
The mind is naturally inclined to tune out repeat input, while remaining receptive to new information. So, by moving from a static environment to a dynamic one, you flood the mind with new inputs and stimulate creativity. Visiting a cafe is great for firing up inspiration as you watch new faces and interactions happening around you.
Low-level distractions from the bustle of others actually help fuel creative thoughts. Whereas the silence and solitude of home or the office often push us to non-creative procrastination. Cafes strike just the right balance of simulation buzz with the protection of anonymity, interactions are on your own terms.
There’s also a social element that plays a significant role. If you’re open, cafes are a great place to meet and interact with new people. These brief exchanges of ideas, experiences and perspectives ignite creativity.
Your positioning is somewhat crucial, whether in the cafe or your own workspace. The last thing you want to do is position yourself right in a high traffic point, so don’t sit by the cash register or a door. You want the opportunity to observe or interact, but it has to be on your own terms.
Dim Lighting Liberates the Mind and Imagination
Yet again, absolute focus and free-flowing creativity are set at odds. Brighter lighting favors focus-based tasks but research has shown dimmer lighting actually boosts creativity.
The most curious thing is, creatively was seen to increase across six separate studies, even without conscious recognition of this change. So it’s believed dimmer environments make us feel freer to explore and take risks without judgment. It’s so powerful that even recalling an experience of darkness can have similar creativity boosting effects.
So, if your creative workspace is bright, dimming the lights to create a more ambient environment would be very beneficial. You could use light blinds on the windows and shaded lamps for softer lighting. Or if you are visiting a coffee shop, pick the deepest, darkest corner for creative pondering!