The repetition common in everyday lives, housework, and jobs can make us feel uncreative. Yet, humans have an inborn survival instinct to expect and solve problems. This makes each and everyone of us creative. We lose touch with our creativity when we “go through the motions.” But you can reconnect with your creativity. Here are twelve ways to spark your creativity.
1. Embrace the Mess
When you think your life is a mess (confession, that’s most the time for me) sit in the mess. Embrace the moment. Sifting through your things or thoughts can help you see things differently. Be open to a different way of thinking or a change in where you place things.
2. Reconnect to Your Body
Often when we’re stuck, we become physically stuck, too. Our body tenses. We take more shallow breaths. Reconnecting with our body will not only relax your body, but it relaxes your mind, too.
Take a breath in through your nose for the count of three. Exhale for a count of three. Repeat 5-10 times.
Tighten and relax muscle groups one at a time. For example, curl your toes. Hold the curl for the count of three, then relax them. Next, tighten your calf muscles for the count of three. Then relax your calves. Continue with your thighs, your buttocks, your stomach, and so on.
Connect with Feel
Feel the fabric of your clothes. Notice the smoothness or roughness. How do your fingertips feel? Compare that sensation to the feel of the surface upon which you are sitting or standing.
Notice the weight of your body, the temperature of the air.
Connect with Taste
Taste something sweet or something sour. Taste something new. What happens in your mouth, your stomach, your brain?
Connect with Scent
Sniff favorite scents. Try spices or fruits or perfumes. Does that smell remind you of something? How does it make you feel?
These exercises may feel awkward at first. That’s okay. It may take a while to reconnect with your body if you aren’t normally. Notice what’s happening. Where do you feel the awkwardness?
Remember, there’s no right or wrong in doing these exercises. As long as you connect with some or all of your body, you’re doing fine.
3. Stay Curious
Marvel at the world around you. If you don’t know the answer to a question, look it up. Follow the rabbit hole you find most fascinating. Ask more questions. Why does this one interest you? How could you use this in your daily life? How do you wish you could use it?
4. Change Your Perspective
One of the best ways to spark creativity in mundane moments is to change your perspective. Instead of seeing the task at hand as boring, try to approach it with a fresh perspective. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I do this differently?” This shift in perspective can help you see things in a new light.
Stuck in traffic? Instead of getting frustrated, look at it as an opportunity. Pay attention to the people, buildings, and scenery around you. Perhaps you mix this with the color walk idea further down in this post. Or you look for absurdities.
Or take a different path, literally. If you always drive (or walk) home via the same route, take a different one. What do you see that is different? What do you want to see more of? Or not see? What would surprise you the most surprised?
5. Notice Color
Take a color walk (inside or out). Choose a color to notice. Even if you choose something that will be everywhere, notice the shades of green or blue on your walk. How many unique objects can you find that color — shoes, cars, houses, flowers, fences, scarves, etc. What would you think would never be that color? Can you find it? Focusing on color allows your subconscious to work on your problem. Sometimes, color sparks ideas that will excite you.
Repetition and mindless but necessary task can be boring. View those moments as opportunities to daydream. Let your mind wander. (Remember to stay safe while daydreaming!)
Allow your thoughts to meander. Let your subconscious make connections. Sometimes the break from “worrying” allows you to see a creative solution.
Or you could choose to “direct” your daydreams. Explore absurd or expensive or impossible solutions. Follow those ideas to the extreme. The creative solutions that pop into your head might surprise you.
7. Listen to Music
If you follow this blog, you know I listen to instrumental music as I work. Music is a powerful tool for sparking creativity. It can help you relax, focus, and get into the zone. Choose music that inspires you, energizes you, sets the mood, or otherwise gets your creative juices flowing.
If you are doing a repetitive task like folding laundry, put on some music that you can’t help but sing along. Or you can put on music and allow your mind to daydream about a scene to fit the music. Music can help make your mundane tasks more enjoyable and also spark your creativity.
8. Get up and Move
Take a walk outside. Your mother was right. You need fresh air and sunshine. Even once around the block will give you a break.
If the weather isn’t favorable, try a brisk walk around the house, on the treadmill, or up and down the stairs. Turn on your favorite dance music and move. Moving often is critical for maintaining good health.
The air, the weather, and the act of moving all act to lower your blood pressure and relax you. That may be all your creativity needs as a (maybe literal) jump start.
9. Create a Ritual
A ritual is a habitual observance or action(s) that is repeated. A ritual done every day, or every time you wish to be creative, helps signal your brain that this is the time to be creative. It elevates creativity as something important to you. After a time, you may find you don’t need the ritual any longer. Or you may choose to continue your ritual as a way of easing from your mundane world to your creative one.
Your ritual can be as simple as listening to the same music on a loop or lighting the same candle each time you sit down to create.
The following can be components of your ritual. Try to include the first three at a minimum. The rest you can use or not. Do what makes it feel like a powerful ritual to you.
Choose an Environment
What space will work best with your ritual? Your office? Garage? Kitchen? Studio? Be certain the space reflects the energy level you seek. Avoid distractions.
Set an Intention
How do you want to show up? What is the tone you’re trying to create? Example: For an energetic tone, you might choose to play music that makes you want to move. For wisdom or thoughtful tone, you might choose to burn a scented candle representing wisdom (sage or aged cedar or whatever represents wisdom to you).
Most of the day, we are only partly present. Doing dishes (and most other mundane tasks) our thoughts wander. Focus on your intent and your desired outcome of this ritual. Perhaps you chant something like, “I am open to new and creative ideas.”
We often take things for granted. Take this moment, this ritual time, to appreciate life, the world, others, and yourself.
Make space for thinking about why this ritual is important to you. What is it you aspire to? What about this makes you afraid? What does the success of this ritual look like to you at this moment?
Ritual is a way to connect to your aspirations. Who do you want to be? How do you want to serve others with this aspiration? What shift in yourself will help you do this?
Lift to Sacredness
Can you see this ritual as something sacred? Sacred doesn’t have to mean religious or holy. It means to consecrate or dedicate. It’s something that you are giving power.
Close in Gratitude
Give thanks for what the ritual gives you. Express gratitude for all the parts, for you showing up to do the ritual, to those in your life willing to make space for you, and to the world.
10. Sleep & Dream
Get more sleep. Before you go to sleep, ask your dream self to solve a problem or answer your question. When you wake, jot down everything and anything you remember from your dreams. Or write a paragraph about your problem or question immediately after rising, before you do anything else. Sometimes our subconscious works better when we aren’t thinking about the problem.
Have you used any of these methods to spark creativity? Please share a method that works for you.
11. Collaborate with Others
You’ve probably seen a post on social media where someone asks “the hive mind” a question. You can do that too. Ask for creative solutions to the problem you’re facing. Or if you are stuck on a project at work, reach out to a colleague and see if they can help you brainstorm some ideas. It might be a single conversation or many conversations.
Or you may choose to work on your project as a team. Working with others can help you come up with a solution that you might not have thought of on your own. Or again, it can trigger an idea of yours that you would not have thought of without the clue from someone else.
12. Embrace Imperfection
Perfectionism can kill creativity. Allow yourself to take risks and make mistakes. You never know when a mistake or a risk will free up your creativity.
Try setting a timer for ten minutes and allow yourself to create without judgment. Don’t worry about making mistakes or getting it perfect. Just create and see what comes out.
All It Takes is a Spark
You don’t have to try all these methods. But you don’t have to feel stuck or uncreative, either. Try one method at a time until you find what works for you.
What do you do to spark your creativity?