We had a nice routine when my daughter was in preschool.Would give her broccoli, and when she scowled and crossed her arms, I would sigh in defeat.Didn’t have any improv talents until I made the decision to use them one day: “I need you to play the guard. I warned her, “Don’t allow any ogres approach that tree, and especially don’t let an ogre consume it. “Guard, can you do this?”
She was in even though she knew I was kidding. She laughed and began munching on her broccoli as soon as I turned my back, just for my startled response: “What kind of guard are you?!” I said. Our two-person comic act quickly centred on the “guard game” whenever new meals appeared on the menu. Although I’ll never tour with my show, my brief moment of creativity undoubtedly improved our quality of life. People who are creative are frequently associated with the arts, but in reality, creativity in daily life is more about the way you think than the things you create.
What is creativity?
Professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut James C. Kaufman, Ph.D., asserts that creativity is not a secret or magical skill that only a select few people possess. According to John Kounios, Ph.D., a professor of psychological and brain science at Drexel University, creativity is typically understood in psychology as the capacity to create things or objects that are new (at least to the person creating the work) and useful, or appropriate for the situation or purpose. He likes to characterize creativity as a method of rearranging the components of a circumstance or a notion, though.
Creativity is typically a method of problem-solving and a fresh perspective while managing change and innovating for individuals in business or law. According to University of Washington management professor Crystal Farh, Ph.D., innovation at work benefits both the employer and the individual.Compared to non-creators, “creators report feeling happier, more fulfilled, and more energised.”
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia is home to the first Ph.D. program in creativity in the country. One of the nine students enrolled is Patricia Salkin, a former government attorney who is currently the provost of Touro College. “A lawyer, a filmmaker, and a psychotherapist enter into a classroom,” she says of the pupils’ backgrounds, which sounds like the beginning of a joke.
4 kinds of creativity: Which one are you?
Check to see if you can spot any of these Kaufman-identified sorts of innovation in yourself.
- Mini-C: Personal creativity you experience and enjoy, like crafting or doodling in the margins of a notebook.
- Little-C: Creativity you generate that other people can also recognize and enjoy, like a paper clip sculpture for the county fair or poetry you perform at a coffeehouse.
- Pro-C: Expert-level creativity. The writer gets published, and the entrepreneur finds financial success with her fantastic new paper clip idea.
- Big-C: Creative genius. Genius is subjective, and the label is dependent on conventional wisdom to a degree. For example, composer Harold Rome was popular in the early 20th century, but contemporaries Rodgers and Hammerstein are considered creative geniuses. “People want to see Oklahoma, not a drama about factory workers. Does it mean Oklahoma is better? Not necessarily,” says Kaufman.
How the brain creates new ideas?
Where does creativity live in the brain? Some physical actions, such as moving your toes, originate from a particular “address” in the brain. However, creativity is more akin to a boat on a river than a fixed address. It involves the neural pathways in the brain that integrate language, spatial perception, and fine motor skills. The networks resemble interconnected rivers that regular barges use to solve arithmetic problems, follow recipes, or read reports and along which the party boat of innovation floats.
However, creativity isn’t as enigmatic as it might seem. You can use your brain to come up with creative ideas in two different ways: either through the renowned “aha” moment of revelation, or through more analytical reasoning. Even as you snooze, daydream, or unwind, your brain works on complex issues, and eureka moments are the result of unconscious mental operations. When you’re little distracted or go to a new location, a wonderful idea is likely to strike. Kounios notes that this is why it may emerge while you’re in the shower, out for a walk, or even at two in the morning. Deliberate step-by-step examination and problem-solving can also inspire creativity. You can come up with something wholly original by deliberately inventing and tinkering, analyzing and revising ideas.
According to Fratantoni, the better you are at solving problems, the more successfully you can get around in the world and the healthier you will be. Therefore, while creativity has its own rewards and may encourage your child to eat her veggies, it also benefits the health of your own brain. Over the past 15 years, a rising number of arts organizations and research have discovered that engaging in creative activities might lessen dementia risk, reduce loneliness, and increase participation, according to Kaufman.
According to Kounios, any exercise that keeps the brain active slows down aging. We develop new brain cells and create new connections between preexisting ones as we engage in learning new things, whether they are skills, hobbies, or situations. These creative activities that produce brain cells include writing, math, learning a language, and art.
According to Kounios, creativity can make the brain’s reward system active. This may be the reason why many people find art therapy, writing therapy, and other kinds of creative expression to be uplifting and successful.
Lynnea Doublette, a Minneapolis resident, believed that since she wouldn’t become a famous singer or movie star as an adult, she would have to give up the arts. She continues, “But it’s a part of who I am. “Isolation and loneliness seem to breed when I’m not creative,” she said.
As a result, Doublette discovered a method to incorporate creativity into her regular activities. Kounios now has jobs in the performing arts and medical field. She frequently performs in a gospel quartet for medical personnel and residents of nursing homes with her two sisters and mother. Kounios has also collaborated with Kairos Alive, a charity that supports the voices of senior citizens via dance, music, and storytelling. Kounios even created two songs last year, but only after longingly concluding that she couldn’t be creative in that way.
When we believe we lack creativity, it is just untrue, she explains. “Walking a particular way or breaking into a small dance when you receive happy news can both be creative. You have creativity within.
Creativity benefits Doublette in both professional and personal aspects. “My brain’s connections and pathways reopen. I see options for how to approach a challenge at work or complete a task,” she claims. “I get into the depth of myself when I embrace my identity as an actor or artist, and ideas flow freely.
11 Strategies for Increasing Creativity
According to Kaufman, some research on what fosters or stifles creativity is incoherent. But that can just imply that different strategies function differently for distinct individuals. To find out which of these will work for you, try a few:
Look for solutions
It counts to work on riddles, read murder mysteries, and conduct research (genealogy, anyone?). Your brain’s neural reward processing signal is stimulated when you figure out a mystery or make a new link, which enhances your capacity for insight.
The default mode network of the brain is involved in imagination, daydreaming, and unplanned thinking. There, we spend 30 percent of the day, says Fratantoni. Give yourself some time during the day to daydream by turning off social media and other distractions.
In one experiment, participants could come up with more word-association issues after watching a humorous clip. Find out what makes you happy, advises Fratantoni. This can entail starting a practice of mindfulness and gratitude.
Kounios asserts that getting more sleep is the single best way for someone to increase their creativity. It improves your mood, gets rid of bad thoughts, and aids in subconscious problem solving. You can come up with new thoughts and make connections you hadn’t before, even after just a 10-minute nap.
Consider your chronotype
If you’re a night owl, you might have the best inspiration in the morning while your mind is still a little foggy. In that situation, spend your busiest evening hours developing your analytical thinking. Kounios advises early birds to try the reverse.
Change your surroundings
According to Kounios, being outside or in a space with high ceilings might aid in expanding your attention and fostering creative thought. Sharp contours, vibrant hues, and arresting music can evoke a sense of dread or danger and divert the mind from daydreaming. Kounios claims that the ideal setting is one that is roomy, cozy, fuzzy, with rounded, soft edges and subdued colours.
Recognize when your creativity strikes and value it. Even though the bedtime story you read to your child or grandchild wasn’t written by Shakespeare, it was nevertheless creative. According to Kaufman, creativity that has personal significance should be praised.
Try something new
To stretch oneself creatively, look for unusual cuisines and locations that offer fresh insights.
Ask for opinions
When solving a problem, especially at work, seek advice from those who have different perspectives. Create an environment where individuals from various perspectives are encouraged to speak up and where everyone feels psychologically secure enough to do so, advises Farh.
Do something else
Your brain can’t access creative answers when it is in fight-or-flight-or-freeze state. Grab a drink of water, look out the window, or perform a simple job like folding laundry. Fratantoni claims that taking a brief break enables one to bring diverse information together and arrange it in novel ways.
According to Fratantoni, several research have demonstrated that limitations can lead to superior results. For instance, the poets in the group that had to create a poem using only eight specific nouns performed better than the group that was only required to write a poem. Create a constraint that might be useful to you, even if it seems foolish.