Prevention (USA)

11 Ways to Boost Your Creativity


Some research on what assists in boosting or unblocking creativity is contradict­ory, Kaufman says.

But that may just mean that various approaches work differentl­y for different people. Try a few of these to see what works for you:

1 SEEK SOLUTIONS. Working on puzzles, reading murder mysteries, and performing research (genealogy, anyone?) all count. When you solve a whodunit or discover a new connection, your brain’s neural reward processing signal is activated, and that helps increase your power of insight.

2 DAYDREAM. The brain’s default mode network involves imaginatio­n, daydreamin­g, and spontaneou­s thoughts. We spend 30% of our day there, says Fratantoni.Turn off social media and other inputs and give yourself time to dream during the day.


CHEER UP. In one study, subjects could generate more wordassoci­ation problems after watching a funny clip. “Figure out what gets you in a good mood,” Fratantoni says. This might include establishi­ng a practice around gratitude and mindfulnes­s.

4 SLEEP! “If there’s one thing a person can do to be more creative, it’s sleep more,” Kounios says. It boosts your mood, purges unhelpful ideas, and helps you process problems subconscio­usly. Even taking a 10-minute nap can help you generate new ideas and see connection­s you didn’t before.


If you’re a night owl, you may get your best ideas in the morning, when your brain’s a bit fuzzy. In that case, work on your analytical thinking in your peak evening hours. Early birds should try the opposite, Kounios says.

6 CHANGE YOUR SURROUNDIN­GS. Being outside or in a room with high ceilings can help expand your attention, enhancing creative thinking, Kounios says. Sharp edges, loud colors, and striking music can instill a hint of anxiety or danger and distract the mind from letting itself wander. “The ideal situation is a spacious, warm, fuzzy environmen­t with rounded, soft edges and muted colors,” Kounios says.

7 DON’T COMPARE. Recognize and appreciate your creativity when it pops up. Just because the bedtime story you told your child or grandchild isn’t Shakespear­ean doesn’t mean it’s not creative. Personally meaningful creativity should be celebrated, Kaufman says.


Challenge yourself by seeking out novel foods and places, which provides new perspectiv­es, critical to enhancing creativity.


ASK FOR OPINIONS. Get input from people with diverse points of view when tackling a problem, especially at work. “Create the conditions where diverse perspectiv­es are invited to have a voice in the room,” Farh says, “and where all individual­s feel psychologi­cally safe enough to put their ideas out there.”


When your brain is stuck in fight-or-flight-or-freeze mode, it can’t access creative solutions. Get a glass of water, gaze out a window, or do a non-challengin­g task like folding laundry. “Taking a short break lets you pull together disparate informatio­n and put it together in new ways,” Fratantoni says.

11 ESTABLISH LIMITS. Some studies have shown that constraint­s can make for better outcomes, Fratantoni says. For example, when one group was asked just to write a poem and another group had to write one featuring eight specific nouns, the poets with the constraint did better. Generate a constraint (even if it feels silly) that might work well for you.

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