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2 Ways to Access Your Creative Potential On-Demand

2 Ways to Access Your Creative Potential On-Demand

Experiencing a moment of creative genius is one of the most satisfying feelings we humans can have. You experience a spark of many positive emotions such as excitement, joy, and charismatic exuberance. Would you like to be able to prime your mind to access your creative potential on-demand? Would you like to increase your chances of arriving at creative genius? Here are two outstanding methods to ignite your creative fire.

Preparation:

What is Creativity?

Being creative means you are creating. You are producing, not consuming. Many of us know what creativity feels like. It is often a spontaneous thought that seemingly comes from nowhere at an unexpected time. Creativity may apply to writing a terrific article, creating a beautiful piece of art, or simply solving a problem. In these senses, creativity is best described as your brain connecting two or more unrelated pieces of information, and creating a unique new viewpoint.

In fact, your brain is full of a lot of information. It is expanding its database constantly as you sense new information. It does this quietly and without your direct instruction. Are you allowing it to sift through this data on occasion? Or are you simply a receptacle of information?

Separate Mind from Brain.

Imagine for a moment that your mind and your brain are separate entities. Separate your conscious and subconscious thinking. See your mind using your brain as a tool to interact with the outside world. As you visualize this, go ahead and close your eyes, and see your mind separating out from your body. You may imagine yourself looking down upon your body and your brain.

“You are not your brain. The mind that gives orders to the brain is the only true creator.” – Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, Super Brain

To form an analogy, you might see your body as a computer. Your brain makes up the user interface to the outside world. Your brain consists of the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Your mind, now separate, uses your brain to interface with the vast array of otherwise unintelligible information that the computer can collect from everything around you.

Separating mind from body and clarifying the role of each is a fundamental step to understanding the creative process.

Creativity and the Senses

Now that you can imagine the separation of mind from brain, you should begin thinking about the interaction between the two. Sensory input, in terms of site, taste, touch, vision, and hearing, make up our perception of the physical world. This information is passed from the brain to the mind, and is the basis for much of the conscious information flow between the two.

As you close your eyes once again, seeing your mind peering down upon your brain and body, add in another visualization: a colorful flow of information coming from the outside world into your body and up to your brain. Watch the brain process and filter this information, before it passes some of it up to your mind. Your mind responds, sending information and orders back down to the brain. This flow can look like a swirl of colors. This is a busy flow! Visualize your brain burdened by input and response—a computer running at 100%.

If you are able to see this visualization, you are prepared to begin igniting your creative potential.

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Reach Your Creative Potential:

Method 1: Overload your senses.

Have you ever been in a shower when out of nowhere, you solve a very complex or long-lasting problem, even though you weren’t directly thinking about it? Many people have reported this experience. This is a creative spark.

Part of the reason this occurs is because in the shower, you have overloaded your senses to the point that your mind has drifted away. During this state, information is flowing from your brain to your mind—uni-directional. Your mind leaves your brain alone and allows it to work through and process information it has been storing for a long period of time. You are allowing your brain to do its work rather than consciously directing it. This is similar to how computers used to “defragment” during down time, performing better once complete.

Does this mean you should take showers constantly? No! You can invoke this feeling in other ways. In fact, freshness and novelty are key.

Light up your senses. As you enjoy the experience, expect a creative spark. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sight: sit in a candlelit room. This causes a standard environment to look new, different, and exciting.
  • Sound: listen to interesting, rhythmic music or sounds, preferably without words.
  • Smell: use scented candles, incense, or aromatic food.
  • Touch: bring something of unique texture to hold onto as you sit. Beads, jewelry, and antiques can be great to run your fingers around.
  • Taste: bring a small snack that you normally do not eat. Wine, juice, fruits, and unique cheeses are excellent choices.

Placing yourself in this situation of sensual overload will cause you to become lost in the moment. You will stop thinking about work, your to-do list, and other stress factors. Your mind cannot help but get lost. Your brain is now free to make wonderful new connections and provide you solutions to problems that have been queued up.

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So how does this relate to your morning shower? Showers tend to excite your senses. You see body parts that are normally covered, the rhythmic sound of water hits your ears, your soaps bring unique scents, and there are different textures to touch.

You can place yourself in this situation for as long and as often as desired. You may try 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and several days per week to start. The more you do this type of activity, the more easily you will be able to achieve a wandering mind.

Method 2: Shut off your senses.

This method is a bit more challenging, but will ultimately allow you to most completely disconnect the flow between your mind and brain. Put simply, this is meditation, which has been used for centuries to help people solve problems and arrive at unique conclusions and spark creative genius.

Meditating for creativity is not easy. To start, go back to our visualization. See your mind floating over your body and brain. See the information exchange. As you hold this image, start allowing your mind to drift further and further away, until you can no long see your brain.

The flow of information fades until it has been temporarily stopped. You are not providing input and direction to your brain. You will return, but you will understand the importance of letting your brain alone to do its work. Your mind should continue to drift into blackness, reaching a state of calm. You may float in this state as long as you like, ultimately working your way back to your brain, re-engaging the information flow, and opening your eyes.

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Upon doing so, it may be good to sit down with a journal or instrument, and write, draw, or play whatever is at your finger tips. Let your brain communicate to you what it figured out while your mind was away.

If you’re having a hard time with this visualization, try starting out by focusing on a rhythmic bodily function, such as your breathing or heartbeat. Accept thoughts as they come to you, but then turn back to your body. As soon as random thoughts become less intrusive, begin the visualization.

Conclusion

If you are like most people, you probably operate in a near constant state of information overload. The Internet, TV, smartphones, and more all work to make you an information consumer—perhaps to beyond the degree we’re capable of handling. With this in mind, take time to unplug from your brain. Assign it a problem to solve. Then allow it to sift through and sort its database. Use your senses as the tool to do this. The results will be surprising.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit:

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Justin Gesso

Bestselling Author, Business Leadership, Real Estate

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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