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The Ultimate Guide: How to Become More Creative Day by Day

The Ultimate Guide: How to Become More Creative Day by Day

We all start our lives as creative individuals, but somewhere along the way we start to lose our ability to see things in a new light. In other words, our creativity withers and dies. If you’ve ever wished you were better at coming up with ideas, you might have wondered how this happens. Believe it or not, our school system plays a huge role in squashing creativity. It gives us a good grounding in facts and theories, but it doesn’t encourage divergent or lateral thinking skills. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us are too quick to say, “Oh, I’m not a creative person!” Don’t worry, though, because you can get your creativity back. Follow the tips in this article and you’ll soon find your idea engine starting to rev.

What is creativity?

Most of us share the same basic idea about creativity. We tend to think of it as coming up with new concepts, or finding new angles in any given situation. However, it can be helpful to think of creativity as connecting various experiences together, and simply making links between them. The broader and richer your life experiences, the more dots you can join, and the more ideas you can generate. For example, a visual artist might come up with an idea for a painting based on their experience with depression (one “dot”) and their exposure to abstract painting (another “dot). The result? A highly emotive, effective piece of art.

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Signs you’re a creative person

You are probably more creative than you realize. Did you know that there are subtle and not-so-subtle signs that suggest you might be an especially creative person? For example, if you like to wear outlandish socks, you are in good company. Research shows that those favoring this kind of footwear are more brilliant, creative and successful than those who stick with regulation black and navy. Your moods and mental health are also clues. Depression may be a terrible, crippling experience, but scientists have found a link between depression and creativity. Specifically, creative people tend to see the world in way that differs from the norm, and can see a myriad of possibilities and shades of gray. This can trigger a sense of being overwhelmed by the outside world. Finally, those who stay up and get up late are more likely than early risers to be more creative. If you tend to hit the snooze button repeatedly, it may just be because you are more creative than average!

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Can we train ourselves to be more creative?

In short, yes! If you don’t understand that creativity is the ability to join up two or more experiences, and that this is a skill that can be learned, you may conclude that some people are simply born more creative than others. Worse, this belief can even become an excuse for not trying. After all, if you are either born creative or you aren’t, there’s no point in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The truth is simple – when you commit to becoming a better problem-solver and force yourself to look at the world in a new light, you will inevitably become more creative as long as you are willing to make the effort.

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How to largely boost your creativity

If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know quite how to begin restoring your creativity, try a simple two-word exercise that will remind you how brilliant you are at making new links and associations between two concepts! Another way to ease yourself back into a creative mindset is to appreciate the work of others. Read a short story, listen to an inspiring piece of music, or look at some mind-bending paintings. There are literally dozens of ways to fuel your creativity. If the first few techniques you try don’t work for you, experiment with something else. You might need to do some inner work first, because fear can be a big barrier to trying new things. A fear of failure is common, because we have been raised in such an achievement-oriented society. If this sounds familiar, why not write down what you fear will happen, and how you would deal with it? For example, if you are afraid of other people labeling you “silly” or “foolish” for trying to be creative, remind yourself that you can always choose to hang out with more positive people instead!

Travel as much as possible. Remember, the more life experience you accumulate, the more creative you will become. Travel truly is an investment in yourself. Even if you can’t afford the time or money needed for a long vacation, why not take a day trip to a local attraction? Switch things up at home too. Take a new route to work, try a new sandwich for lunch, and take up a new hobby in the evenings instead of watching TV. Go outside and immerse yourself in the real world!

Finally, you can even use your negative life experiences as a basis for creative expression. You don’t have to be angst-ridden to be creative, but some of the most compelling artwork has emerged from great suffering. Identify your negative emotions,and divert them away from yourself. Solving a creative problem enables you to get into a state of “flow,” which is where the real magic happens. Lose yourself in writing, dance, painting, or any other creative pursuit that feels right to you. Remember that there are no perfect people, and that judging yourself harshly won’t help. Work on becoming a more creative person, and your overall quality of life is bound to improve. You will feel more interested in the world around you, and more accepting of your true, creative self.

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More by this author

Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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