If there’s one skill that is always useful, it’s creativity and creative thinking.
This ability to think outside of traditional methods can help you find new answers to old questions and achieve greater success.
However, it’s not a natural skill – creative thinking is something that takes a little encouragement and brain training to succeed.
To this end, here are 6 habits that are great for encouraging you to think along new lines and help you come up with original, creative solutions.
Whether it’s on the conscious or subconscious level, improving your brain’s cognitive skills overall will help open up a wealth of unused potential.
Know When To Step Back
Few problems are ever solved instantaneously.
Yet, it’s also not ideal to work on a problem for as long as you can.
Sometimes you need to walk away and come back when you’re feeling refreshed.
It really is important to take regular breaks to avoid mental fatigue.
Even sleep can improve your ability to feel creative – that’s how important these breaks are.
Taking time away from something allows you to come back with more energy and reassess the situation.
On the other hand, if you stay up all night thinking something over, you’ll loop around the same areas of thought over and over again.
This leads to increased agitation and a downward spiral into frustration.
The humble novel is one of the world’s oldest forms of entertainment and it’s easy to see why.
If you’re feeling uncreative, perhaps you don’t read enough.
Unlike television or the cinema, reading a piece of fiction requires effort on the part of your imagination.
This is supported by science, which has long suggested a correlative link between a lot of reading and improved creative thinking.
If you’re reading on a regular basis, you’ll be giving your brain the constant stimulus it needs to develop an active imagination.
This also has the added benefit of providing some simple entertainment while you improve your brain on a subconscious level.
If you’re feeling like some serious brain training, you could try detective novels and other genres that actively encourage a greater level of conscious thinking.
Explain Your Problem To Others
When you explain something to others, are you often straight to the point?
Talking to other people – even if you’re not looking for help – forces you to address the issue and break it down to its most simplistic key elements.
This can help find a new angle or even help you realize what parts are irrelevant (an impromptu Occam’s razor, if you will).
Even if you don’t have anyone around, simply imagine how you would describe it to someone, as this will get your brain thinking from a different perspective.
Improve Your Body
Both the body and mind are connected and a negative influence on one can often have similar changes on the other.
This is why stress can cause medical issues and why even walking outside can improve creativity by around 60 percent.
The fact is your mind is just another muscle and it needs to get out of the office more often.
Likewise, light exercise will help keep your body healthy, and a good diet will improve your mind.
There’s a reason fish meals are referred to as brain foods – they’re known to benefit the brain physically.
So get outdoors, walk more and eat more tuna!
Take Up Gardening
Speaking of the great outdoors, have you tried gardening?
Getting outside and doing something physical gives you a distraction from over-thinking, but gardening holds many more benefits.
This hobby can offer physical, tangible results, helping to improve your confidence and show what you, personally, are capable of achieving.
Gardening has an easy skill level when starting but the difficulty curve offers the perfect challenge for your brain.
At first, you can grow simple plants but soon you’ll be investing in a water tank for rainwater.
This is where creative skills really come in useful.
First, you plant seeds, then you start harnessing the power of rainwater to benefit your home.
Just think what else a brain like that could achieve.
The Right Senses
Have you ever tried to work under a harsh light or tried to sleep when it’s noisy next door?
It’s a well-known fact that the brain is linked highly to your sensors, and it should come as no surprise to know this can change how creative you’re feeling.
Be aware of the sensory input that may be influencing your mind.
Strong lights, as well as dim rooms, are both problems as they restrict focus.
Likewise, try not to concentrate when you’re hungry, as a battle between brain and stomach leaves little room for thinking.
In other situations, have you tried calm music?
Sometimes silence can be deafening, so gentle noises may ease your subconscious.
Creative thinking is a challenge but not impossible
A creative thought process is not impossible, but you first need to nurture the seeds before you can enjoy the fruits.
These habits will provide the ideal kick start to develop your brain and you will soon notice you’re able to think outside the box a little more freely.
What other things have helped improve your creative thinking skills?
Let us know in the comment section below.