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Take A Moment To Tap Your Creative Powers

Creativity can be elusive. Sometimes ideas just seem to multiply. But at other times, just when you need them the most, they disappear.  And the more you push to make them pop up, the less you get.

Researchers say pushing is really the wrong way to go.  University of California Santa Barbara professor, Jonathan Schooler explains, “Our creative juices flow most freely during any task where it’s relatively easy for the mind to wander.”

That’s why the best ideas pop up when you are driving to work, taking a shower, or cooking dinner.  Your brain gets to wander around on its own. So how do you let your mind loose?  Here are some suggestions from the experts:

Do a sidestep to refresh your mental screen.

When the really good ideas all seem to be hiding out, take a few minutes to do something else that engages you, but does not require much effort.  It might be puttering around your garden, rearranging your books, or taking a short walk in the park. 

Make time for some humor

Take a ten minute daily humor break catching a funny clip or reading something from The New Yorker Humor Archives. 

Connect with role models

Check in on their Twitter feed or read a little from their latest book.  Fresh thoughts from people that you value can set the tone for your own efforts.

Take a cat nap

Dreaming or just dozing lets your thoughts run around  too.  Then when you return to the project at hand you might have a whole new answer, or at least you will be ready to think more clearly about it.

Add some really good sounds

As you work, listen to something good and let it be a buffer as you enjoy your favorite jazz, classics or rock.

Feed the furnace

However it suits you, stay in touch with the world and new information that you find intriguing.  Roam through the library and cruise through your favorite sites.  Carrying a notebook and jotting down authors and ideas, or setting up a spot on your computer as a storage point for good information will provide stimulating review spots when you are looking for inspiration.

Make your workspace a great place to be

Treasured books, favorite photos, framed mementos and small keepsakes will create a comfortable backdrop for you. The colors you like spiked with a few green plants can give you a creative lift every time you sit down to work. 

Let your drive time work for you

All of the usual driving  that you have to do can actually turn out to be open time for new insights to strike.

Do a five minute meditation

When the ideas won’t come, just close the door or step away to a quiet place. Close your eyes and let your mind drift as you focus on your breathing. Picture your favorite spot on the water, in your garden, at the beach.  When you return to your projects everything may look a lot more open.

Unplug and visit your favorite gallery or bookstore

Or set up some materials from the local art shop so you can doodle. 

Look ahead

Sit back and picture the future, what might happen in a year or five.  Experts say, “When people imagine themselves in the distant future, it causes the mind to shift to a global kind of thinking that can be productive.”  That sort of projecting may prompt all kinds of insights.

Sip some wine

Many experts say a moderate amount of alcohol can help to loosen your focus making it easier to form new connections and frame new thoughts.

Whatever creative prompts you choose, just remember the mind seems to be the most productive when you give it a little room to roam.

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