"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

8 Creativity Tips for a Stronger, Happier Brain

November 2, 2023 – Wherever you look, you’ll be able to see evidence of creativity: painters, architects, dancers, Ted Lasso Writers (oh!), fashion-forward friends, trick-play trainers, quick-reacting surgeons, sandcastle builders, TikTokking violinists, tweeters who can dream a meme, chefs who can determine 42 unique uses for fig jam, editors who… Permit Authors to make use of the words fig jam.

We often assume that it is just those that are tortured Artist of the world who’re blessed with this ability.

“You don’t have to be a tortured soul to be creative,” said Art Markman, PhD, associate provost and professor of psychology and marketing on the University of Texas at Austin.

We all use creativity to some extent as a part of our each day rhythm of living, considering and acting.

In fact, it's a mistake to categorize “creativity” as only applying to creative endeavors with a capital C, because creativity will be learned, developed, and nurtured—and commonly flexing your creative muscles advantages your brain and overall health .

The smartest thing about it: there aren’t any limits to creativity. It will be loud and daring and public, but it might probably even be a to whisperA soft Approaching Play along with your brain – without an endpoint, and not using a product, and not using a standing ovation or 10,000 likes.

The key?

“It is the process of creation – engagement – ​​that fosters creativity,” said Christianne Strang, PhD, assistant professor on the University of Alabama at Birmingham, neuroscientist and art therapist.

The connection between creativity and health

According to Strang, creativity has adaptive value: When our early ancestors had an issue (cornered by a snarling beast) and a creative solution (hmm, that necklace of tusk shards makes a handy eye-gouging weapon), the greater ours Chances needed to survive. While these kinds of advantages may definitely still exist today for individuals who find themselves in life-or-death situations, the adaptive health theory is that the means of creative considering is definitely good for humans.

Years ago, research into creativity and health seemed as implausible because the AI ​​that wrote half of this story (it didn't!). However, there may be now plenty of research the connections between creativity and brain health – but the advantages may not stop there.

For example, a study within the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed that higher creativity and well-being have a positive relationship. And creative activities are related to improved immune function and have positive effects on conditions resembling Parkinson's, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and a wide range of other mental health issues.

“One thing that happens with depression is that people get stuck in their thoughts and ideas and start not believing in their abilities and self-efficacy,” Strang said. But once they will be creative, they improve their functioning – and thus higher support mental health.

Perhaps better of all, creativity and mood can form a virtuous cycle.

When individuals are positive and joyful, they have an inclination to provide you with more original ideas, and once they are happier, they’re more creative.

“An insight can cause extreme excitement and increase dopamine levels,” said Carola Salvi, PhD, who studies creativity and cognitive flexibility as a scientist on the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and a professor at John Cabot University of Rome.

The stages of creativity

What happens in your brain through the creative process? There are many variables at play – depending on who you might be, what you do and what your goals are.

“People often think that creativity just comes out,” said Indre Viskontas, PhD, associate professor on the University of San Francisco, neuroscientist and opera soprano. “But any expert will tell you that’s not true.”

That's since the creative process uses each the brain's executive function areas (those involved in logical considering) and the default mode network – connected areas within the brain that activate whenever you're not specializing in what's around you happening around (daydreaming, etc.). other “pointless” activities).

There are 4 phases of creative work Procedure:

Preparation (managerial function): This can take many forms, resembling recognizing an issue, setting goals, setting boundaries, and even learning a brand new skill. You have to learn basic chords before you’ll be able to start riffing highlight guitar solos.

Incubation (network in standard mode): Here you give yourself time and space to let your thoughts dominate, said Viskontas. Your brain is actually slowly cooking a neurological jambalaya – nothing to look at, nothing to do, just let all of the cool ingredients simmer in your brain pot. Creative solutions and concepts bubble to the surface as your brain forms distant associations.

“The paradox of creativity is [that] Disconnecting from your problem and situation is the path to greater creativity,” Markman said.

Enlightenment(Standard mode network): This Aha!-Eureka! Moments often occur within the shower because our brains should not distracted. They are also tied to the brain's salience network, meaning they’re strongly linked to emotions (you’re feeling the dopamine rush when the switch is flipped and also you get an idea).

“When people are creative, they often don't concentrate or give the subject their full attention,” said Mark Runco, PhD, director of creativity research and programming at Southern Oregon University. “The relaxed state opens the door to more distant associations and a wider range of possibilities.”

Verification (executive function): How can we know that an idea is sweet? You need the prefrontal cortex to judge it – and track execution. That doesn't mean bad ideas don’t have any purpose (see below), but when the stakes are high, we want validation. For example, consider creative medical solutions; It is vital to know whether an modern solution worked.

How to turn out to be “better” in your creativity

The value of developing the skill of brain games is that it might probably improve not only your health but in addition your life skills. People who’re more creative in problem-solving are likely to think more critically, Salvi said.

“You can always develop these kinds of skills, always learn new things, always learn new strategies, always practice recognizing that the disadvantages of a bad idea aren't so bad and the advantages of a good idea are really powerful.” Markman said.

Some approaches:

Give yourself enough incubation time. Viskontas loves running – and he or she takes the identical route almost each time to make the activity as pointless as possible. Showering, shopping, and walking can all work the identical way.

Change the best way you brainstorm. “Brainstorming is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t really work well,” Markman said. Instead of putting a bunch together to provide you with a number of ideas, it's simpler to provide you with the ideas yourself after which bring them together to judge and construct on them. “Instead of a group brainstorm, it should be an individual brainstorm and then use the power of a group to evaluate,” Markman said.

Close your eyes. During creative periods, your visual cortex tends to be less energetic. Makes sense, right? That's why we have a look at the ceiling when brainstorming. “To come up with creative ideas, people tend to tune out distractions and focus more inwardly,” Salvi said.

Consume, eat, eat. The more you read, watch, and learn, the larger the neurological library you construct. “One of the things we know about creativity is that you have to have a certain level of knowledge,” Markman said. “Often you apply knowledge where it has never been applied before.”

Tune in to your inclinations. “You need to know your chronotype – when you best concentrate consciously and when your mind naturally wanders,” Viskontas said. If you’ll be able to adjust the time of day to whenever you best complete a task, you’ll improve the method.

Wait a minute. “One thing I didn’t learn directly from Hemingway is that you always leave something in the cup,” Viskontas said. That is, whenever you work on a creative endeavor, you don't leave the project with a natural endpoint; leave in the event you're running low. Knowing where you’ll proceed next time is a big advantage relatively than starting with a blank page.

Accept the bad ideas. “We tend to shut down when we’re embarrassed, which hurts creativity,” Markman said. “One of the things we know is that the people with the best ideas also have the most ideas. Creative people have a lot of bad ideas,” he said. So it's price not stalling your process out of fear of how others will react. “Even our mistakes have value,” Strang said. “We should embrace them instead of excluding them.”

Try something latest. Markman, who began playing the saxophone in his 30s, says learning latest skills, resembling within the creative arts, will be good to your brain and improve your ability to innovate.

“When people allow themselves to play, it feels good. Maybe they don't like the way it looks, but it felt good doing it – the expressive, spontaneous way of thinking. “Being creative can be rewarding in itself if we allow ourselves to be,” Strang said.