Let’s face it, daily life is a challenge. There are so many demands and distractions it can be difficult to focus on the moment, let alone feel creative. I know that when I feel overwhelmed, my creativity goes into hiding. So here are my five favorite ways to unclog my mind and free up some space for my imagination to take flight.
Take a walk 👟 Preferably in a garden, woods, or along a waterway. In short, get out in nature to awaken your senses and clear your mind. My go-to is along the Connecticut River near my home.
Read a book 📖 And yes, I mean a real book with paper pages and a bound spine. Feel it, smell it, linger over passages without distracting hyperlinks, doodle in the margins. Yeah, slow down and open your mind to new ideas.
Arrange flowers 🌸 🌻 Flower arranging is an art form and the simple act of selecting flowers and arranging them in containers is creative and calming. If possible, incorporate herbs like basil, flowering oregano, sage, lavender, and lemon verbena for a scent-sational boost.
Meditate on a work of art 🖼 Look closely and slowly at a favorite painting or photograph. It can be a print from a book, something on your wall or even online. Slow looking at a painting promotes mindfulness and calm. Connect with your favorite artwork and find inner calm. Here’s a meditation I recorded to help get you started: https://youtu.be/pzs-pqLGxHk
Take a nap 😴 Yes, like in the middle of the day. Pretend you’re on a 30 minute vacation. Find a comfy spot, close your eyes and drift away. Recharge your body and refresh your brain.
The creative process plays an intricate role in most people’s lives. Every day, in some shape or form, the basis of it is used. Creativity lives is everyone, therefore everyone is creative. However there are some moments where it seems that the creative space can not be found even in the deepest crevice of your brain. When faced with those times, you may feel stuck, unmotivated or just plain uninspired. Creativity can indeed be fleeting but here are a few tips to perhaps make it stick around a little longer.
Read a Book
Yes, read. When you feel like you are stuck in a moment where you can’t produce a thought or an idea to save your life, reading will provide a great escape. When you are reading your imagination takes over and someone else’s words fill your mind, taking the pressure off of you for a moment. Allow yourself to get lost in the tale of a fictional character’s life and take a well needed mental break. If you find yourself pressed for time, even reading a short chapter or a few pages will give your brain adequate time to reboot. Reading exercises your brain by flexing your “mind muscles” and as with any muscle, it needs to be exercised daily in order to grow.
Listen to a Guided Meditation
Meditation is one of the most ancient practices of the world, and there are reasons why it is still relevant today. Having a still moment to relax and just be present with your body is something that very few people make time for, yet the benefits are astounding. Listening to a guided meditation will allow you to clear your mind of clutter, de-stress and think more clearly. There are several ways you can practice meditation, however if you find yourself having a hard time being able to silence your thoughts, a guided meditation is the best route. Be sure to create a clean and organized space to clear your mind. You can download guided meditations online or directly from your app store. Meditating does not have to be an extensive or long process in order to reap the benefits. You can find short, yet effective 5-10 minute meditations and enjoy them on a short break.
Do a Brain Dump
Listen, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but incorporating this exercise in your day will definitely help boost your creativity levels. Brain dumping is just a mental exercise that helps you get all of your thoughts out of your mind, and onto paper. Sometimes being stuck creatively just means you have a ton of ideas but you don’t know which direction will lead you to where you want to be.
Grab a pen and paper (no technology, please) and write down any and every thought that comes to your attention. Once you’ve reached a halt, review what you have written on your paper thoroughly. After you go over your list, organize what you’ve written into a list in order of importance. Now that you have everything in front of you, you can use it as a compass to navigate you to your next task or project!
Work with Kids
It’s true that you never quite know what a child will say or do. They are generally free of the inhibitions and self-criticism we experience as adults, and that’s why they can be a great help in unlocking our creativity. Ask a child to think up a story and they’re likely to take you on a journey that zigs and zags in ways you could never have imagined. But these zigs and zags can be quite inspiring. If you have children, spend some time with them creating stories, plays, or art. If you don’t have children, consider becoming a tutor — you can help them with their academics and then offer up a creative exercise you both participate in each session. Or look for opportunities to volunteer with children through arts or literacy programs or your local library.
People tend to think that the creative process has to be a painful, drawn out experience. Finding effective ways to boost your creativity just involves you taking the time to step back and give your mind the time to catch up with your body. When you push yourself to the limit, you block the creative process and compound stress into your body. It’s always good to make nurturing your mind a part of your daily routine to ensure that creativity will always be able to find you.
Thanks to contributor Sarah Lockwood at thepreventioncoalition.org for this wonderful article. We invite guest bloggers to share ideas on creativity, arts and crafts, celebrating special occasions and family life. Please contact us if you’d like to contribute to The Art Truck blog.