Creativity comes naturally to children. If you gather a group of them, give them 50 wooden skewers and tell them to come up with different ways of using them, they’ll give you 50 different answers. Try the same game with a group of adults and you’ll get half the amount of ideas. Most of us will have heard of the cliché that children prefer to play with the empty cardboard box than the new toy that it contained, creatively using it as a doll’s house or den and playing imagination games for hours. We are born creative and imaginative but somehow, for a lot of us, this skill decreases. There are many positive reasons why we need to encourage our creative minds.
It has been suggested that in a world of increasing AI and technology what will set us apart from the machines is our creativity. We can all access knowledge at the touch of a button but how we use it will determine our employability. We are perhaps entering a new age of creativity. We need to harness this skill as without it we will have no innovation.
So, just as we encourage children with crayons, imagination games and music lessons to enhance their creativity, we should also be encouraging ourselves as well. Not only will it help us at work, but it will also helpus in our personal lives as it has been shown to increase positive mental wellbeing.
We often feel guilty about taking time out for hobbies but identifying the areas in your life that are creative andencouraging them by spending more time pursuing these activities are the first steps to re-engaging our creative minds.
They can be anything from fashion, gardening, cooking, playing sport, reading, or DIY. Through engaging in tasks that require creative problem solving or simply expressing ourselves usingart or writing, we can begin to re-ignite our creative brains.
Not only do we encounter problems at work that need creatively solving, from the shop assistant using creative language to help a customer, to a builder practically problem solving and computer techs innovating new products, but we alsoencounter many problems in our personal lives that require creative thinking. The more imaginative we are, the better able we will beto think around our issues, and use our ingenuity to deal with the uncertainty that life throws at us.
Creativity is linked to empathy. It helpsus to see problems from different perspectives whichagain helpswith problem solving. When reading, not only do we imaginatively visualise but we get into the minds of the characters, boosting our empathy skills. All too often weget in a fixed mindset putting up mental barriers to success, but creativity allows us to imagine something better, something different and a new goal to strive towards.
When we participate in a creative task, not only does being absorbed in something creative quieten our minds, butwe can enjoy a flow state (see previous blog), or inadvertently mindfulness, banishing any anxiety and distracting ourselves from our problems. Our body releases the chemical dopamine, an anti-depressant, helping us to achieve a way of life that is more satisfying to us.
Switching off from our phones and computers, giving ourselves a digital quiet space, allows our minds to creatively wonder, to concentrate on the simple things in life, which in turn gives us freedom to concentrate fully on a creative task. Just going for a walk without interrupting techcan allow our brains time to creatively think around problems. It means that when we get back to our emails and diary’s, we can be really productive and concentrate better.
But being creative can be risky because you have to be willing to fail. Your creative work may never see the light of day or your ideas may be laughed at, or theymay even fail. However,the positive you gain is that you will continue to grow. Without the failures, you remain stagnant: once we view failure as survivable, we can be encouraged to express our creativity. We grow because we are continuing to learn and stretch ourselves.
Self-hypnosis allows our subconscious mind to problem solve. It develops our imagination as we practice using imagery, and if you don’t consider yourself a visual person then you have four other senses to use: your brain can conjure the smell of coffee, the taste of lemons, the feel of silk or the noise of waves rolling onto a beach. You imagine it and your body will physically react, for example, if you find the feeling of soft cotton sheets relaxing then imagine that sensation on your skin or perhaps it’s the sun on your face. You can use your senses to exercise your creative mind and, when your body feels relaxed, your mind can wonder or ponder on a problem. If you would like to learn how to do self-hypnosis please get in touch.