Boost Creativity with Mindfulness - dummies

Boost Creativity with Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Nobody can say for certain how mindfulness leads to creativity. Although the precise nature and origin of creativity is mysterious, one thing’s for sure: when you have a calm mind, creativity naturally reveals itself, which makes you feel happier too. When you practice mindfulness:

  1. Your normal conscious thoughts start to lose their grip on your awareness.

  2. Your more creative, unconscious brain is able to work more effectively and create new connections and ideas.

  3. You make a mental space when your conscious mind calms down in which the new ideas are revealed.

Mindfulness provides many other creative benefits too:

  • Clarity: Regular mindfulness leads to a clearer mind. You can then see problems for what they are and spot solutions quickly. If your mind is overwhelmed with thoughts, you’re unlikely to see any creative ideas.

  • Insight: Mindfulness is sometimes called ‘insight meditation’ for good reason. By looking inwards, you’re able to see connections and solve problems in novel ways, whereas without looking, you can’t see the creative solution at all.

  • Focus: When your attention is in the right place, creativity often flows. If your mind is wandering too much, you can’t expect yourself to be creative in a productive way. Yes, letting yourself daydream can help with creativity, but having the ability to focus can be even more helpful.

  • Perspective: Creativity is about seeing things from a different perspective or viewpoint. Mindfulness is particularly good at developing this ability because it’s about stepping back from your thoughts and emotions rather than getting caught up in them. You can step back to help solve whatever problem you’re working on, to help you see your task in a new light.

You don’t have to sit down and meditate to practice mindfulness, although that’s powerful. You can also go mindful walking in a local park, eat your lunch slowly and mindfully or drink your afternoon tea with your phone switched off and without your usual colleagues. All these strategies can get your creative juices flowing.

Use the following exercise to find your own way to creative solutions.

  • Write down a challenge in your life, for which you want a creative solution (remember to be specific about the challenge).

  • Decide how you’re going to practice mindfulness today to help you let go of the problem (for example, mindful jogging this afternoon).

  • What possible new solutions popped into your head while you were meditating?