We are all having those days… days when you urgently need to create strategic projects, or come up with new ideas, solutions, and strategies… but just as you’re getting started, your mind goes blank. Not just a little blank, but seriously blank, like a-big-black-hole-has-overtaken-your-brain kind of blank. Problem is, the clock is ticking and you need new ideas now… so how can you get your creative brain buzzing again?
Here are 7 great ways to reignite your inner creative spark:
1. Conquer the cortisol.
When you’re stressed, your body releases what’s often referred to as the “stress hormone.” You’ve heard me talk about this by now, of course. It’s called cortisol, and it’s very efficient at shutting down all of your body’s “non-essential” functions, which includes the creative centers in your brain…. the very parts you now need to come up with new ideas and solutions! And while there are many ways to experience relaxation—talk therapy, deep breathing, and others—few, if any, have been shown to reduce cortisol levels as quickly as doodling or mandala circles. So what are you waiting for? Start writing or drawing a mandala on how you can’t come up with new ideas, how blank your mind is, and maybe how that’s making you anxious, how tired and overwhelmed you feel, and oh, hungry, too… Just keep drawing on whatever comes to mind. Your brain will be overflowing with creativity before you know it!
2. Switch things up.
Sometimes what’s “old” can go from being “reliable” to “stale.” To keep things fresh, try putting your keyboard to the side, grabbing a pen and writing anything that comes to mind, but with your OTHER hand. Try not to judge what you’re writing or how your other hand’s handwriting looks (most toddlers can write more clearly than my other hand can), just write, even if you’re just writing the alphabet or your name or the street you live on. Keep going for a while, always writing with your non-dominant hand, and see if your creative brain doesn’t start to heat back up…
3. Get smarter.
Ever heard that vigorous aerobic exercise makes you smarter? There’s real science behind it. When your heart’s pumping faster than usual, your brain’s getting more oxygen, which allows it to work more efficiently. Plus, that extra oxygen can do wonders for the creative centers of your brain! So next time you’re in a creative nut, consider dusting off those running shoes or going for a spin on your bike. You may just open wild new worlds of creative potential!
4. Rediscover the unfamiliar.
Most of us tend toward activities and events we know we’ll enjoy. When it comes to creativity, however, the unexpected and unfamiliar is often the more fertile soil. If you feel yourself sliding into a rut, why not go to a music concert, art show, dance performance or other event that extends beyond the confines of your normal comfort zone? That little jolt of the unusual may awaken your creativity in new and exciting ways.
5.Reset your clock.
Just to get enough done everyday, most of us adopt schedules, routines that guide us through our busy days. However useful and important, these same schedules and routines are not always great for nurturing creativity. So if you’re usually a night owl, try indulging your creative side in the morning, or vice-versa. You may surprise yourself and find that your usually sleepy evenings, powerhouse mornings, or low energy afternoons are actually great times to indulge your less predictable creative side.
6. Give your brain a break.
Our brains are so often on 24/7 overload… we’re thinking about this, then that, and then we start judging our own thoughts! Our brains are so busy, it’s no wonder we lose touch with our creativity! Here’s an easy way to “empty” your brain… grab pen and paper, and start writing anything and everything that comes to mind. Julia Cameron, bestselling author of The Artist’s Way, calls them “morning papers,” although you can write them at any time of day. Try not to judge what you’re writing. It doesn’t even need to make sense! Whether you’re writing about your many To Do’s, your overly adventurous bedhead, or the day’s news headlines, just keep going. These pages are just for you, so you don’t need to worry about grammar or spelling. This exercise is a way of dumping some of the extraneous thoughts out of your brain. You can keep writing or doodling for five minutes or an hour. Just go until you feel like you’ve opened the proverbial hatch on your brain, and cleared out all the cobwebs. And once all of that is gone, or even before you start writing, feel free to do Reiki to keep your body and mind on even keel. Before long, you’ll find that thinking outside the box feels like second nature.
7. Lose your usual four walls.
Do you have a place where you always go to do something creative, whether it’s to write, paint, create music, or do creative brainstorming with vision boards! That sacred creative place can really fuel your creativity… until the day it really doesn’t. Look, creativity is rarely predictable, so just when you think you’ve discovered the perfect place or rhythm, you might discover you need a new one. Just for a day or two, try a new setting in your home, something that’s noticeably different from your usual one. So if you’re typically a creative hermit, create an environment that’s stimulating.Cut out some favrourite magazine pics and stick them on to your cupboard or chart paper.
Of course, if any of these ideas make you feel anxious, or if the idea of trying new exercises and routines makes you uncomfortable, stop and do some doodling or zentangles before you try them. Keeping your energy balanced and your stress levels in check is almost always the best remedy for a creative dry spell!