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5 Secrets That Will Make You More Creative After Your Morning Coffee

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Does a cup of something warm get your day off to a flying start? Coffee is more popular than ever before and in the U.S. alone an estimated 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day. That’s 146 billion over the course of a year! For many of us across the world, our first thought upon waking is of coffee. It’s the perfect ritual to freshen up, shake off the remnants of sleep, and get the creative juices flowing.

Some people will head to their local coffee shop, others will use a machine in their home and after that first sip the ball is well and truly rolling. They sit at their computer, browse through their emails, and catch up with what’s going on in the world. Then… nothing. This happens sometimes. We’ve all felt it: despite the coffee we can’t quite get into the rhythm of the day and the motivation or energy that we need doesn’t quite come.

But there’s nothing to worry about! There are scientifically-proven methods to get your creativity flowing and you’ll find five of these secrets below:

1. Stretch those legs and go for a stroll

Do your surroundings feel all too familiar? The dull office walls, the habitual conversations, the same digital routines… It can all get a bit too much and this saps your creativity. This is why it’s great to get outside and take a walk.

Studies have shown that even a short stroll can boost a person’s creativity. A study from Stanford University found that the creative output for a person can increase by an average of 60 percent while they’re walking! You’ll feel calmer, your mind will relax, and you’ll think more freely.

It’s no wonder that so many visionaries and creative powerhouses have done this intuitively in the past. Steve Jobs was known to walk while thinking over problems, while Immanuel Kant is remembered just as much for his punctual walking sessions as his ideas.

2. Stop working in that awkward silence

The gentle hum of a computer. The droning of air conditioning units. The gentle tapping of keys. The clicking of mice. Against a silent backdrop these sounds are enough to make a person go wild and studies have demonstrated that silence actually saps our creativity.

Ambient noise can aid in creative cognition and improve our performance on creative tasks, so you should seek it out. Sneak out to a Starbucks or another coffee place to find the perfect background noise that can help you to get lost in your work and pursue new avenues of thought.

The study, which appeared in the Journey of Consumer Research, is a fascinating one and it explains the way that moderate sound assists us in creative tasks. Nonetheless, be careful not to overdo it because the same study found that any sound over 85 decibels actually hinders rather than helps our creativity and it can be even worse than silence!

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakaura

3. Get out of that office building and escape into nature

Being indoors can actually damage our creativity, too. Research from the University of Kansas has discovered that indoor environments and all that they bring – distractions, emails, notifications, people – means that our attention is divided across a huge range of sources and monitoring them reduces our capacity for creative and positive thought.

The solution to this is to go beyond the watercooler on your stroll. If you can find the time to get out of the office each day and into a natural environment your creativity, insights, and problem solving abilities will feel a big boost. In fact, the study demonstrates that participants witnessed a 50% boost in creativity after being outdoors for extended periods.

You should give it a try!  Experiment for a week and see how your work is affected by the exposure to fresh air and organic material. There’s a great line from The Suburbs by Arcade Fire which sums this up: “Move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass.”

4. Don’t force it – let your mind wander

Getting stuck on an idea is a horrible feeling that feels like a physical barrier. Sometimes, moving past it seems to be impossible. It’s the same with trying to kindle creativity in the morning when you’re just not feeling it. It’s like trying to wrestle your way out of quicksand: the harder you struggle the deeper you fall and you just become more stuck.

Distractions and daydreaming seem like intrusions at these times but research has shown they can actually help us with our problem solving. Every person daydreams almost constantly and many of these are found to be “generated from representations that are based on information from memory.”

When you find yourself frustrated distract yourself with something silly or non-productive rather than throwing yourself at the problem again and again. The natural flows and rhythms of your thoughts might throw up a solution and present you with another path to take toward solving your problem.

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” – Roman Payne

5. Find the right beat for your thoughts to bounce

Do you listen to music while you work? What genre? Chilled trip-hop beats? Classical music? Pop? Everyone has a different type of music that they prefer and that music has the potential to influence their emotions.

It comes as no surprise that the way we feel affects the way that we think, so music is a powerful tool that we can use to intentionally influence our thought processes. Studies have discovered that when we are happy our divergent thinking abilities are improved.

That’s right… it’s time for you to put together a dreadfully happy Spotify playlist. Those sweet pop songs can facilitate creative cognition to get your creative juices flowing. The research was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research so it’s all true: start building your happy playlist as soon as possible!

Coffee tastes great and helps to get us energized, but these techniques are scientifically proven to give us the creative boosts when we need them the most. Best of all, they can be mixed and matched. Consider putting on your playlist during your afternoon stroll in the park and letting your daydreams flow. Who knows what incredibly creative things you may come up with!

How do you get your creative juices flowing? Let us know your tips below!

My name is Peter Harengel. My mission is to inspire your innovative thinking by showing you the most inspiring sparks from creative industries. I research digital-centric innovation models for my doctoral studies and advise global brands on digital innovation issues at a strategy boutique firm. Previously I worked in the entertainment industry for firms such as the Sony Corporation of America/Columbia Records (New York) or Bertelsmann AG/BMG (Munich). Say Hello on LinkedIn or find out more about my current projects on Harengel.com.

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3 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself and Live an Optimized Life

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The secret to happiness lies in the way you live your life. People think of happiness as some destination they’ll reach when they’ve accomplished the hundred things on their life to-do list. Happiness is often associated with money, material possessions, or even great relationships. (more…)

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These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

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