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4 Simple but Effective Ways To Harness Creativity

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4 Simple but Effective Ways To Harness Creativity

We always can use some more creativity in our lives. Whether you’re running a massive company or just looking to take on some do it yourself projects at home, being creative is a form of self-expression and is the backbone behind productivity and success.

To me, creativity goes hand in hand with productivity and we all have our different ways to show it. Creativity is not limited to those in the arts, but it is the driving force behind your best work no matter what form it may be. For some people, creativity comes more naturally than it does for others, but there are ways to help give your creativity a little nudge in the right direction.

Here are 4 ways  to help harness your creativity:

1. Get up and move around

Motion creates emotion. And emotion is critical in your creative process. No matter if you’re a writer, musician or putting together a new budget proposal, to get the best out of your work you need that bit of emotion and passion to put everything you have into it. Since a majority of our time is spent sitting down this is a good time to get up and move. It might just be a quick walk or jumping jacks, the point is when you do get up and move that motion will translate into a better energy that you can put towards your work.

 

2. Read or watch something inspirational

This can work a few ways. Firstly, it is beneficial whenever you hit a rut and feel you’re drained on a creative level. Having things to turn to that inspire and motivate you are a great way to get back on track. It can be as simple as putting a playlist of inspiring music together or a collection of youtube videos that you find motivating.

Watching, reading or listening to inspirational things first thing each day can also be a good way to set up your creative process for the day. It starts the day on that creative note which can lead you down a more productive path as the day goes on.

“If you can dream it you can do it.” – Walt Disney

3. Get more exercise

This will be different to the first point which is about trying to break out of little ruts by generating quick emotion. Consistent exercise can lead to more consistent creativity. Research from the Leiden University in the Netherlands, found that those who exercised four times a week were able to think more creatively than those who were sedentary.

This has a double-pronged effect as when you do need those little short term bursts as shown in the first point your body is more able to adapt to a creative place. The exercise has the ability to help strengthen that creative muscle along with your actual ones!

 

4. Refer back to your best work

You may have dozens of examples of your own creativity at it’s best or even just a handful. The point is you know you can be creative and have no doubt fired on all cylinders at some point. When you feel you are lacking in creativity go back to some of your best stuff to get a reminder that, not only can you be creative, but you know you will be again.

In whatever work you do sometimes the best inspiration can come from yourself. It’s something I’ve been doing lately by going back to some of my best writing and blog posts as it gets me back into that creative mindset that was really working at the time.

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

You are going to hit creative ruts from time to time, that’s just a fact. The best thing to take away here is to simply realize that. When you can come to terms in realizing periods of non-creativity are not the end of the world, and that you will break through them, it sets you up for future success.

Like athletes who do the same pre-game ritual day in and day out so it goes with the person who depends on creativity in order to be productive. Creating a routine, and some things to fall back on during those dry spells, helps to create a dynamic where you are more easily able to snap out of it and get back on the track to real creativity and progress.

What are some things you do to harness your creativity? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Jamie Logie is a personal trainer and health coach, podcaster and blogger with the mission of helping people succeed in their health and wellness. Jamie runswww.regainedwellness.com and is author of the best selling book: Taking Back Your Health.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Alex Liang

    Oct 15, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Meditation does wonders for your creativity. Allows me to focus only on what is necessary at times and when I need to, come up with different connections and relations.

  2. Kara O'Neill

    Mar 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    A good cup of black coffee powers me up to get me creative. Throw in a walk to get the coffee – even down a long sun-filled hallway and I’m good to go!

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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