Nurture Your Creativity.
C reativity is more than just something we exercise via a hobby - creativity makes us feel alive.
As we solve problems, find new connections between ideas, and generate new ones, we feel passionate, accomplished, and purposeful. But you already know how great creativity feels, you're here to find out how to get more of it.
"The desire to create is one deepest yearnings of the human soul." - Dieter Uchtdorf
Ever feel like if you just had the recipe for the perfect cocktail of creativity you'd have the answer?
Creativity can be hard to nail down, but here are some essential elements we know are part of the equation:
The curiosity to explore and ask questions, mixed with the humility to know that you don't know everything, added into some mindfulness to be able to think about how to think, plus a little courage to take risks without fear of failure and question the way things are, and then a bit of action because your creativity can't be turned into innovation unless you do the work.
01. Let yourself play
Y our creativity needs space to breathe, to experiment, and to try things out without pressure to succeed or produce a result.
The best thing you can do for your creativity is not to try to put it to work all the time.
Letting yourself experiment freely via your creative medium of choice (paint, journaling, music, movement, etc.) is the best way to strengthen it and give it space to flourish.
You might already have a hunch that creativity is a little fluttery - it often strikes you when you're not trying, like when you're taking a shower or lying awake in bed. In order to strengthen your chances of getting hit with a great idea, give yourself time off from work and create intentional time to play around with new ideas and not worry about going wrong.
02. Get Outside
N ature is proven to help boost creativity. A study done by Stanford University found that when people spend time in nature, there is a natural shift in how they view time.
In nature, time feels more abundant as we often feel a sense of awe. This feeling that time is expanded can help you get more inspired as you feel less pressure or stress.
Time in nature has also been found to improve creative potential, which means it can help you overcome creative blocks.
Since we ourselves are nature, it only makes sense that spending time in nature with all the natural rhythms, fresh air, and sunshine, helps to refresh our mind, ease stress, and help us reach our creative potential.
According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, just twenty minutes outside a day helps your brain to refresh.
03. Chat it out
B ouncing ideas off someone else is a great way to find inspiration and spark your creativity. Something about explaining your thoughts and ideas to another person forces you to be more articulate and intentional than we sometimes are in our own thoughts. Sometimes just the process of saying it out loud is enough to recharge your creativity and help you develop your idea more fully.
Not only that, getting someone else's perspective that is different from yours will cause you to see things from a new perspective and show you the idea in a brand new way. This might be the push you need to take an idea or piece to the next level or even get started making it a reality.
04. Think outside your skill set
Y our skills or specialty can create a colored lens that you use to view the world. For example, an artist and a psychiatrist both walk down the same street together. Each notices different details of the experience based on their professional perspective. The artist might notice different murals or street art and point out her thoughts about each. While the psychiatrist might notice details about people's behavior or actions. The point is,
The skills or specialty you have already developed in life, create a tendency for you to think along those same lines.
Find ways to think outside your skill set and view experiences through a different lens or thought process in order to start to notice things you probably never would have before. This will help give you fresh ideas and create a brand new perspective.
05. Embrace imperfection
I t's better to create something imperfect than not to have created anything at all. But not only that,
Creativity thrives on imperfection
Throwing things down and seeing what comes out of it is an almost essential part of the creative process. Don't judge your work before it has a chance to grow into something amazing.
The other reality of your work being imperfect is that it is never done. Just as you change because you learn and grow, your work evolves with you as you further develop your idea or bring it into a new light. Embrace this reality as energizing, because it means you can always make improvements and changes.
06. Don't wait for inspiration to strike
W aiting for inspiration to hit you is sure to leave you coming up empty sometimes. You have to create an environment that facilitates inspiration, supports, and nurtures you instead of waiting around for it to come to you. How do you do this?
First with the things you surround yourself with. The places where you work and live should reflect your tastes and inspire you creatively. The second way is through your schedule. Does your schedule allow for a flow or rhythm that works best for you? If not make some adjustments to make your space and schedule inspirational.
07. Block off time
F or creativity to flourish, you need some chunks of uninterrupted time to really get in the groove and find your flow.
Uninterrupted time is essential.
This absolutely ties into what we talked about before with your schedule, but you also need to put focus on creating chunks of time, maybe 3-4 hours, where you can focus on creating and not be interrupted.
More than likely, you'll loose track of time and get lost in creating once you find a flow, but setting a specific timeframe where you have no other commitments helps you achieve this. This doesn't mean that there is no room for spontaneous creativity however, that's important too.
08. Give yourself a break
T he reality is that to be your most creative and effective you need to be well-rested. This is more of a pre-requisite to creativity, but it's crazy essential. Giving yourself a break means both taking the time you need to sleep, but also not forcing creative work when you are feeling exhausted or under a time-crunch. You have a limited time frame during the day in which you can accomplish your best creative work and respecting that will help you be less susceptible to burn out.
09. Create just for fun
A llow yourself creative endeavors that are explorative, interesting, and just for fun. Creating only for a specific reason or purpose can be limiting and doesn't allow you to truly exercise your creative muscles.
Give yourself grace to try things you're not already good at, and embrace the experience fully without the focus bring on the final result or quality of your work. This will stretch you to develop yourself in new ways and hone new skills that then might cross over into your more "official" or professional endeavors.