Creativity is a trait that is highly valued in our society, not just in artistic careers, but in technical ones as well. Many people believe that creativity is a trait that you either have or you don’t, but the truth is that creativity is something that you can actually improve if you set your mind to it. Creativity can take many forms, and being intentional about your creativity can actually benefit you in different aspects of your life. In this article, we’ll talk about strategies you can use to be more creative, as well as the ways that improved creativity can benefit you.
Benefits of being creative
There are so many different ways that creativity can benefit you. If you are trying to improve your own creativity, you can actually use these benefits to stay motivated when you get stuck. Here are some of the ways that creativity can help you live a happier, more productive life.
Creative people often do better at work
Regardless of what industry you work in, being creative can actually help you get ahead. This is because creative people think outside of the box when it comes to solving problems, so you’ll be able to find unique solutions instead of making the same mistakes repeatedly. Creativity is also essential for moving your business forward - without new ideas, it’s difficult to develop new products and services. If you establish yourself as a creative person in the office, your coworkers are also going to be more likely to come to you for exciting new projects, which can lead to recognition and promotions.
Creative expression can reduce your stress levels
Creativity is absolutely essential for personal fulfillment, which is one of the many reasons why people seek to improve their creativity. When you create something that you are proud of, or just express your feelings or thoughts through creativity, that sense of satisfaction can help reduce your stress levels. This has been shown in a variety of different academic studies over the years. Keep in mind that there are so many different definitions of creativity - it doesn’t just have to mean something artistic like drawing or making music. Developing a business plan, coding an app, or even just running a successful Instagram page can all be forms of creativity.
Creativity can help you solve interpersonal problems more effectively
Another benefit of being a creative person is that it can actually help you communicate better. Many people don’t realize this, but when you think creatively, it can help you better understand where other people are coming from, and help you find solutions that will work for both of you. Creativity can help you with romantic conflicts, conflicts at work, family conflicts, and more. Instead of just getting mad, you can think outside the box.
Tips For Being More Creative
The idea of trying to improve your creativity can be very daunting, so the key is just to start small. Here are some actions that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life that will help you be more creative.
Use journaling to practice idea generation
Journaling is one of the best tools you can use to be more creative. It’s free, it’s fun, and you can do it almost anywhere. Try setting aside a short period of time in the morning to journal, when your mind is fresh. You can use either a physical journal or journal online - whichever is more comfortable for you. This is the perfect time not only to reflect on what’s been going on in your life, but also to generate ideas to help you achieve your goals. Start with a goal you’ve been wanting to put more effort into - it can be anything from finding a side hustle to making more friends to living a more positive life. Then, start freely jotting down any ideas you have to help you achieve that goal. Don’t judge your ideas or worry about if they make sense - just write down what comes to mind, and try to keep the words flowing. After you’re done journaling, let the ideas sit, and then come back to them later. You might be surprised by how creative you can get when you let yourself think openly!
Take a class
Learning a new skill is the perfect way to get your creative juices flowing. Chances are, there’s at least one skill you’ve always wanted to learn, but just have never gotten around to exploring. Now is the perfect time to dive in and explore a new field. There are classes for just about anything these days, whether you want to learn to dance, paint, or even build robots. If you can’t find a class in your area or just don’t have time to fit one into your schedule, consider taking a class online. There are so many experts that are now offering free or low-cost classes on the internet that you can do at your own pace. Opening your mind to a new skill will help you see things in a totally new light.
Make inspiration boards
Putting together an inspiration board is a great way to spark creativity, either for a specific project or just in general. There are many different ways to go about making an inspiration board. The website Pinterest was designed to help you make an online inspiration board, where you can save the things you love online all in one place. However, you can also make an offline inspiration board. Write down words or short phrases that inspire you at strategic points on a piece of paper, and then go through magazines and cut out photos that jog your creativity. This easy craft project can help you think more broadly about what you want out of life, what inspires you, and how you’re going to come up with new ideas.
Try to see things from other people’s perspectives
Something that can be extremely limiting to your creativity is thinking about things only from your own point of view, without stopping to think about how other people are experiencing the world. Thinking about this is a great start to being more creative. A good way to get started is by reading books and articles written by people who are very different from you. Taking things a step further, you can also try to make friends with people who are from different backgrounds or experiences. This can take some practice if it’s not something you’re used to, but it’s worthwhile - it will not only help you be more creative, but it can also help you be kinder and more understanding to people that are very different from you. Then, when you’re feeling out of ideas or stuck from a problem, you can try thinking about it from a different person’s perspective. Thinking, ‘what would this person do?’ is one of the easiest ways to find the inspiration you need.
Get into your community
Your local community is probably chock full of things that could spark your creativity. If you’re feeling all out of creativity, look for events in your area that might stimulate you. Go to a concert at a local venue (bonus points if you check out an artist you’ve never seen before, or a genre you don’t know much about). Go to an art opening to stimulate your thinking and see beauty from a new perspective. Head to a street fair and try cuisines you’re not very familiar with. The more you surround yourself with creativity and beauty, the easier it will be for you to be creative yourself.
Often we let our perceived limits get in the way of our own success. If you’re struggling to come up with an idea and need to boost your creativity, try pretending for a moment that whatever constructs are holding you back are no longer there. You might be surprised what you come up with when you aren’t worrying about money or even physical limitations. Even if your initial ideas aren’t practical, you can work backwards to come up with something that is, instead of letting your limits starve you creatively. You should also never be afraid of failure or coming up with ‘bad’ ideas - sometimes we actually need those bad ideas to lead us to the ones that are going to be more successful. You can’t expect everything to be perfect on the first try - you’ll need to fail at least a few times before you can ever make any progress.
Go out in nature
A very literal change of scenery is sometimes the best way to be a little more creative. No matter where you live, there’s surely some appealing natural areas just a short drive away, and immersing yourself in new surroundings can really stimulate your creativity. This could be anything from a pristine beach to a quiet forest to a vast, expansive desert - there’s no limit on the world’s natural beauty. Be sure to take some pictures and even write down your thoughts while you are there, so that you can refer to them when you’re back home and need some inspiration.
Enjoy some laughter
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s going to be difficult to be creative. A good way to deal with this stress is to laugh it out. When you feel tense, watch your favorite comedian or spend time with a friend who always makes you laugh. Laughter will help you relax, and it can even help stimulate your mind in a way that will improve your creativity naturally.
Go for a walk
Another excellent way to stimulate your creativity is to engage in some physical activity. Working out releases endorphins in your brain, which help you feel happier and more relaxed. This mindset is going to be much more condusive to coming up with new ideas. When you feel yourself getting stuck in the middle of the day, take a short break to go outside for a walk or run. If you don’t enjoy these forms of exercise, try playing your favorite sport with some friends or even taking a dance class.
Put away your phone
In today’s busy world, we’re completely plugged into our technology. And while technology has benefited our society in so many ways, it can also be totally overwhelming. When you feel beholden to your phone or computer, it doesn’t put you in the best mindset to be creative. When you want to get your creative juices flowing, try staying away from technology so you can let your brain really relax.
Work with other people
There are going to be times when you need a little help from your friends to get your ideas flowing. Even the most introverted people in the world occasionally hit a wall when they spend too much time alone. If you’re extroverted, trying to work alone can feel completely unproductive. When you’re trying to improve your creativity, take the time to brainstorm and bounce some ideas off of other people. When you’re with others, you might find that something they say or do actually inspires your next great project.
Do things you enjoy
This may be the ultimate key to becoming more creative. When you take time to do things that are fun, you aren’t putting any pressure on yourself, which can in turn help you generate more ideas without even thinking about it. So if you’ve been overworking yourself lately, stop to play a game, color, or dance to your favorite song. Try to take a childlike perspective - this will help you let your imagination run more freely.
Still not feeling creative? Don’t worry - it’s not something that happens overnight. It might take a long time before you start generating truly incredible ideas. Just keep an open mind and don’t get discouraged. If you feel yourself starting to think negatively, take a break and try a different approach. Trial and error might help you find the strategy that stimulates your creative spirit the most.