How to be more creative: 31 ways to get out of creative funk
When I was a little girl I thought only artists: dancers, writers, musicians, painters etc., were creative people.
I didn’t understand what it meant to be creative.
Ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. Britannica online
All of us are creative. Some of us go through life telling ourselves and anyone who’d listen that we aren’t creative. We’re all innately creative but we express our creativity in different ways.
Creativity is for everyday living. When my husband left me on a side walk with our two little boys, I was pregnant with our daughter. My family was thousand of miles away. My creative mind helped me to move on and make it work.
We survive and thrive in our personal and professional lives because of our creative genius. ~ Adalia
All of us get into a creative funk, in our business and personal life. How is your creativity barometer?
If you’re easily overwhelmed or stuck in your business or personal life – your creative mind is in a funk.
The world needs your creative genius and you need it for everyday living.
For your inspiration – 31 ways to get out of your creative funk
1. Make it a creative day
Begin your day being inspired to open up your creative pipe line. Don’t rush. Linger in bed, in the shower, as you sip coffee and/or eat breakfast. Be in the moment and treasure it. Start your day with a heavy dose of inspiration: quotes, affirmations, books, audios etc. See inspiration in unusual places. Be inspired by the ordinary and extraordinary – the good, the bad and the ugly.
2. Create your own “spark my creativity” tool kit
Use a physical or virtual box/container and add items that will inspire, motivate, and stimulate your creative mind. For example: a favorite picture of a family member or friend, mementos, an item from your school and college years. Add items that will evoke powerful emotions.
3. Surround yourself with the color blue
Blue is one of my favorite colors and it inspires creativity. Surround yourself with the color blue: candles, decorations, wall coverings etc. Better yet, create a “release my creative genius space” and use the color blue as the dominant theme.
4. Spend time observing children.
All children are creative until – well intentioned – adults suppress it. My children ignored the store bought toys and had hours of fun with the empty boxes. Pots and pans became musical instruments. My furniture was a gym. Children are pros at using their creative minds to get what they want.
5. Think like a 5th grader
Jessica Stillman, Inc magazine, shared some insightful information from Anthony Mccaffrey, cognitive psychologist at the Universityof Massachusetts. Anthony studies the thinking of inventors. Based on his findings, he has concluded that 5th graders are unfettered thinkers – they haven’t developed habitual thinking – their minds are flexible and open to new ideas and innovations. Mr. Mccaffrey is developing software to help just about anyone with creative thinking.
6. Be childlike – ask “why”
Children are curious. They want to Know Why? Curiosity fosters creativity. Ask Why? You may find a way to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Play with the joyous exuberance of a child. Research has show that children are not the only ones to benefit from regular play. Everyone, even animals, no matter the age, can reap the many benefits of play. When it comes to creativity – play stimulates the mind and body. This in turn activates your imagination and creativity.
“What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families, and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives.” ~ Stuart Brown,Institute of Play
8. Take a nature break
Nature is an elixir for the mind. Your creative mind loves nature. Research done at the University of Kansas found that most people will increase their creativity by 50% after spending several days immersed in nature.
9. Don’t speak
There is something magical in being silent. Observe what’s going on around you in silence. Your other senses will be more acute. You’ll see, hear, feel and taste things that can be overlooked when you’re busy speaking.
10. Take a walk
Walking increases the blood flow to your brain – your subconscious mind is the home of your creative genius. Jonathan Halls of Jonathan Halls and Associates shared an important observation: “the point of this very simple activity is to break with your current environment and free yourself from what I call rut-thinking-mode. Rut-thinking-mode is when regular thinking patterns restrict your ability to think freshly.”
Note: Taking a walk and being silent are a powerful combination for stimulating your creative thinking.
11. Don’t trend
It feels good to trend. We’re social beings. We want to belong. Too much trending blocks your creative flow. Go inward – connect to your own aesthetics and free YOUR creative expression.
12. Don’t Collaborate
There isn’t anything wrong with collaboration. As some wise person said ” it’s the age of collaboration not competition.” And businesses are benefiting from this type of relationship. Not only that, collaboration is also important for problem solving and team work.
However, some of the greatest ideas and innovations came from alone thinking. If you’ve been doing extensive collaboration, step away and try some alone thinking.
13. Embark on a culinary adventure
My granddaughter loves to try different foods. She’s a true culinary adventurer. Expose your taste buds to different flavors. The sensory experience will activate your creative process.
14. Take a different route home
Have you ever driven home and wondered how you got there? If you have, it happens because you’re environmentally hypnotized. Your driving has been accepted as a habit by your subconscious mind. Driving a different route takes you out of the fog of environmental hypnosis. And it alerts your mind to pay attention to the new experience.
15. Self hypnosis
Hypnosis by passes your critical mind to access and stimulate your creative mind. The difference between environmental hypnosis and self hypnosis is that with self hypnosis you make the conscious decision to enter the state for a specific result – to stimulate your creativity. You will get the same results through hetero-hypnosis: using someone to guide you through the process.
Meditation raises the creativity barometer. However, an article at Science Daily referenced the findings of cognitive psychologist Loenza Colzato and her fellow researchers. The team found that not all types of meditation promoted creativity. They analyzed Open Meditation and Focused Meditation. Of the two, Open Meditation activated creative thinking.
17. Be mindful
Mindfulness has to do with focused attention and awareness. Make a conscious decision to pay attention to something you do that has become a routine. For example: brushing your teeth, making coffee or tea etc. If being mindful is a new state for you, take a nibble.
Be mindful for three minutes or more and increase it at a pace that is comfortable for you. Don’t make it a chore. Make it fun. You can use an anchor to remind you to be mindful. One of my favorite anchors is the color red. Let the color red ( or choose your own) remind you to be mindful. Awareness and focus enhance creativity.
Dance! Dance! Dance! One of my favorite past time is to play one of my favorite piece of music, grab my tambourine and dance uninhibitedly. Dancing uplifts the spirit and helps your mind and body to stay flexible. A flexible mind is a creative mind.
19. Guided imagery
Guided imagery/creative visualization has a plethora of benefits. A facilitator uses words, music, sounds, and sometimes silence – to trigger your imagination and spark your creative process.
20. Experience different cultures
My children grew up experiencing different cultures and it has helped them to be good citizens of the world. We live in Los Angeles where there are many cultural events to choose from. Museums are one of the many ways to experience another culture.
Exposing yourself to different cultures will jar you out of your comfort zone. Your mind will expand and your creativity will become heightened.
21. Change your routine
Choose one of your routines and change it. Routines are on autopilot – your creative mind becomes lethargic. Change alerts your creative mind to pay attention and when you get back to routine – there’s an additional benefit – you’ll have a new perspective.
22. Don’t change your routine
I know this is in direct contradiction to “change routine.” But I had to share this because it makes sense. Adam Singer at the future buzz wrote” Routines are positive if they reinforce a healthy, creative consciousness and negative if they destroy that.”
If you have a routine that stimulates your creativity, stay with it.
23. Stop second guessing yourself
Second guessing one’s self is linked to being confused. Confusion creates more confusion. Your first thought is usually the right one. Go for it. Creativity will flow.
Engage in activities that will make you laugh: hangout with your comedic friend. Read a humorous book etc. Here are the top 50 funniest movies of all times to get you started.
Laughter releases endorphins – the feel good hormone. It expands your thinking – not only will you think outside of the box – you’ll pull one out of thin air.
25. Give yourself permission to fail
Give your self permission to fail. Tell your self it’s OK to mess up – to fall down – to be wrong. Stop crippling your creative genius by being TOO attached to the outcome. Free yourself. Detach and let your creative genius soar.
26. Be vulnerable
It’s OK to feel uncertain. It’s OK to be afraid of being: hurt, laughed at, disappointed, etc. Vulnerability and creativity are connected to the same outlet, if you suppress one, you suppress the other.
Embrace all of your emotions. Let go and let your creativity rip.
27. Believe in yourself
If you don’t have confidence in your abilities: at home, in the workplace, your business, relationships etc. – your creativity will be suppressed. Build your confidence, esteem yourself and ignite your creative process.
28. Be impractical
I agree with Gregg Fraley’s point of view on his blog “Creative thinking is actually a powerful time save and highly practical for efficient problem solving – If you know how.”
However, if you’re in a creative rut and have always used the practical approach – being impractical could ignite that creative spark. Be impractical – run when you should walk. Stand on your head when every one is sitting. Do something that for YOU is impractical.
Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creature of the commonplace, the slave of the ordinary. ~ Cecil Beaton
29. Stop comparing
Comparison kills the creative spark. It doesn’t matter if your comparing is positive (external inspiration) or negative (internal despair). Too much comparing will dim YOUR creative spark. And eventually your spark dies.
Comparison wrecks havoc on confidence and self esteem.
Let go of someone else’s reality. Go inward. Allow your imagination to conjure up fresh ideas that will rekindle your creative mind.
30. Think out side of the box or build one
Grab an ordinary item and jot down how you could change, modify or improve it. Try to come up with new and innovative ways to use this product. Don’t put any limitations on your imagination. Just let it soar.
31. Check your environment
Does your environment – the people around you and your physical space etc. – support creative thinking? If not, you should make a change, permanent or temporary, depending on your circumstance.
It’s a wrap
Too many children suppress their creativity because they’re told it’s wrong to color outside the lines. The sky isn’t green. Boys don’t do “this” and girls don’t do “that” etc. They begin to conform to what they believe others want because they want to be loved and accepted.
In most situations adults have the freedom of choice. If you’re conforming when you don’t have to – you lack confidence and may have low self esteem issues. Creativity isn’t just about the arts it’s for everyday living. A creative mind is flexible and enterprising. It turns problems into opportunities – obstacles become stepping stones to your success – and hurdles are opportunities for you to get out of your comfort zone.
I hope one or more of these – 31 ways to get out of creative Funk – resonates with you. Here’s to your unbridled creative genius.
How do you get out of a creative funk?
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