Creativity is a tricky thing, often escaping us when we need it most then popping up out of nowhere. But research is constantly teaching us new lessons about creativity, shedding light on how it really works within our brains and how we can cultivate it. Case in point: this Fast Company article that highlights surprising facts culled from the book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, co-authored by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and writer Carolyn Gregoire.
Some insights are intuitive. For example, showering, walking and daydreaming are associated with boosts in creative insights (hello, Eureka moments!). According to Kaufman, 72 percent of respondents in his global study reported experiencing a new insight while showering. Other insights are literally intuitive; trusting your intuition can make you more creative, according to Kaufman and Gregoire, as non-conscious processing may be faster and more sophisticated than the day-to-day conscious workings of our brains.
At its core, creativity is about making new connections between ideas that previously were separate. Therefore, individuals who are more open to new experiences tend to be more creative than ones with lower tendencies to try out new experiences. Kaufman and Gregoire also explore the ways that traumatic life experiences can challenge our brains to uncover new creative outlets. Termed “post-traumatic growth”, these experiences can shift our perspective and re-shape traditional ways of thinking. Imagination and creative thoughts come from all over.
The next time an idea pops into your head while you’re mid-shower, make a note of it. It could be the creative solution to any number of challenges that’ve been on your mind.
Read more surprising facts about creativity on Fast Company.