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Spark Your Creativity With These 5 Scientifically Proven Methods

Spark Your Creativity With These 5 Scientifically Proven Methods

We all have a creative force looming somewhere inside us, but sometimes bringing it out can be difficult. Certainly, when you’re stuck in a creative rut it can be tough to know where to turn. Not to fear, I’m here today with some stellar methods for sparking creativity backed by science. The next time you find yourself creatively stuck, take heart in these five scientifically proven methods to spark your creativity. They might sound simple, but they are powerful and when used can have big impacts on your ability to think creatively.

1. Run Free Like a Child

Children are incredibly creative thinkers. Full of imagination and without the self imposed limitations we place on ourselves as adults, kids are innately creative. They are free to play, dream, imagine and create without restriction. The next time you’re feeling like you need a burst of creativity try playing like a child. Backed by science, a recent study found that when participants were asked to imagine themselves as seven year olds they performed significantly better on divergent thinking tests. Let your imagination free and play like a child to spark your creativity.

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2. Don’t Box Yourself In

As adults we often box ourselves in simply by the language we use to describe the problems we are trying to solve. It might sound simple but an incredibly effective way to increase your problem solving ability is to simply change the verbs you use to describe the problem. Change it from a specific verb, e.g. ‘driving’, to a more generic verb, e.g. ‘moving’, to open your mind to the possibilities and see a dramatic increase in the number of problems you’re able to solve.

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3. Pay Attention to Colour

Colour can have a huge impact on your mood and your ability to be creative. Studies have consistently shown colour to influence mood and behaviour with a 2009 study showing that subjects solved twice as many insight puzzles when in the presence of the colour blue. Blue is known to lead to more relaxed and associative thinking, giving rise to creativity. Next time you’re looking for a quick burst of creativity embrace the power of blue. Whether it means creating in a blue room or simply walking outside and staring up at the sky with a notebook in hand, this quick change to your environment can make a big difference.

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4. Explore the World Around You

The world around you is full of creative potential. In fact, a recent study lead by researcher Adam Galinsky showed that students who had lived overseas were significantly more likely to solve a classic insight puzzle. Their experience of living within a completely different culture to their native one awarded them with prized open-mindedness. The same effect has also been noted with professionals. Fashion-house directors who have lived in a variety of different countries produce clothing that is consistently rated as more creative by industry peers. Get outside your own backyard to explore the world around you and you’ll see your creativity soar.

5. Make Time to Daydream

In our busy lives making the time to daydream can feel like a bit of a luxury, but research has shown it is absolutely essential to sparking creativity. A recent research study led by Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara USA, found that people who daydream more often are more creative thinkers. Participants within the study who reported higher levels of daydreaming consistently scored higher on a variety of scientific tests of creativity. Make time in your busy life to let your mind free to daydream and spark your creativity today.

Featured photo credit: Paul Inkles via Flickr CC via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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