All work and no play can dim our creativity. Has the pressure of being a creative led feeling you’ve used up all your creativity, or do you think you are not creative? You’ve already tried changing your diet, exercising more, and decorating your creative space. None of that has worked. So what do you do? You can recharge your creative energy, even if you are re-awakening long dormant creativity.
Start with the Right Mindset
Often we get stuck because we’ve rejected the idea before we’ve truly considered it. We create barriers to the effort with little to no thought. We look at advice like what’s being offered here and on this website and think, “I can’t do that.” “I don’t have the personality…time …budget…health”…the whatever. We don’t consider how it might help us because, without thinking it through, we’ve stopped listening or reading at that point.
How do we change our mindset? We finish the thoughts. “I can’t do it because I don’t have the personality.” How do you know that if you haven’t tried it? Try. Test it. Evaluate it.
How? Try it for a specific time period. Document how it made you feel, think, work. What did you learn from the experiment?
After a tough project or a stressful family situation, you need to re-focus and reset your creative energy. There are many ways you can do that.
Meditation is a practice of mindfulness. It can be a guided meditation in which another person leads the meditation. Typically, this lasts anywhere from five minutes to an hour. You can find many examples on YouTube. This is a five minute example.
Maybe you think guided meditation is to woo-woo. If so, you can meditate on your own. If that’s still not for you, try this release-intention exercise.
Release and Intention
Nick Thacker, author and marketing guru, and leader of Book Career in a Year, offered a short meditation you can do on your own. Take anywhere from two to five minutes to do this. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, say, “Release.” Repeat this for at least one full minute. Two or three may work better for you. As you practice this, you’ll be releasing the energy that is blocking you. Release any thoughts about the last project, or the hurtful criticism, and any tension you may hold in your body. After you’ve repeated the word for your minute or longer, for the next minute(s) you say as you exhale that big breath is “Intent.” Repeat that slowly for a minute or longer. You can change the words release and intent if other words work better for you.
Daily Positive Affirmations
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Positive affirmations are positive phrases or statements used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. Even if you have no conscious negative thoughts, it’s your thoughts and feelings that have gotten you to this place.
Science confirms the power of this process. To make long-term changes in the way you think and feel, you must do these daily for the long term.
Choose one to five positive phrases to repeat every day. Here are some examples to try.
- I was born a creative being.
- Creativity comes from practice.
- I practice creativity, therefore I am creative.
- What I create is beautiful.
- What I create helps me express myself.
- I am filled with creative energy.
All of us have, unique to us, people, places, things we find inspirational. A daily moment of inspiration can help refill your creative energy.
If you find inspiration in words from people you admire, you might look for a quote of the day. Music, poetry, art can be inspirational. Stories of overcoming incredible odds might be your inspiration.
What ever inspires you and makes you happy, include it in your daily routine to keep your creative energy up.
Acknowledge Your Fear
We humans are funny creatures. Most of us walk around with a ton of unacknowledged fear. Part of the problem is that we don’t want to feel fear. We don’t want to acknowledge our fear because we think it’s a weakness. Fear is not a weakness. It’s a survival mechanism meant to make you move away from the object of your fear. When your fear isn’t physical, you subconsciously “move away” from it by denying it. And in denying it, you’ve created a barrier to creativity (or overcoming whatever you fear).
As a creative, you probably fear mistakes and failure. But mistakes and failures are part of the process. You can learn something from every mistake and every failure.
Fear is a feeling, not a fact. Look at the facts of your situation. Discover what you need to learn and choose a way to step past that fear.
Practice asking yourself three “ifs.” These are questions designed to make you think differently about the task or obstacle you face. Ask yourself,
- What if I change (the object, system, environment, etc.)?
- What would I change or improve about this if I wanted to use it in 10 years?
- What would I do if I had a one-million-dollar investment to improve it?
Gratitude is good for you. At the end of every day, find three good things from your day. You’ll feel better.
Have a gratitude jar. Keep it in your bedroom or a place where you will see it at the end of every day. Keep a paper and pen or pencil near it. At the end of your day, take a moment to find the good things from your day. Write these down and put them in the jar. Many people fill the jar throughout the year and review their gratitudes at the end of the year. You might find it helpful to review yours more often.
Play Like a Child
One of the most re-energizing things a creative can do is play like a child. When children play, they use all their senses. So do the same. Play with Lego bricks. Do finger painting. Swing on the swings and slide down the slide. Make believe. Live in your imagination.
Marvel in the physical sensations—sight, smell, touch, hear, and even taste (if that’s appropriate). Let your emotions out. Shout with joy or scream in fear.
Find your joy in simple play. It’s amazing how much energy you gain from that.
Learn Something New
Learn a new technique, a new language, a new instrument, a new bit of history, a new culture, visit a new place. Learning engages your brain differently and frees up your creativity.
Go to the public library near you, ask the librarians for a book on any subject that interests you. Watch TED Talks, or YouTube, or listen to Podcasts. At the same time you broaden your knowledge, you’ll be tickling your creativity with different ways to think.
Don’t Give Up
Creative energy isn’t always high. If you’re in a slump, don’t give up. Your energy wanes not because you lack imagination, but because it needs a recharge. The cliché “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true. Refill your creative well and you’ll re-discover…You are creative.