How to Unleash Your Creativity with One Simple Trick

 

How to unleash your creativity with one simple trick

How to unleash your creativity with one simple trick

You’re probably thinking that there’s some incredible secret here. A lot of us believe that creativity is something we left behind when we stopped falling out of treehouses and breaking our arms testing gravity going downhill with no brakes. But creativity is a belief as much as anything. We are all wired to create.

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We Are Designed to Move

Similarly, we are all designed to move. A lot of us in the tech industry believe that we’re more or less heads on sticks, like mobile lollipops. But we have bodies for a reason, and if we don’t move a lot of bad things can happen. We’ve all heard those scare tactics by the people who want to sell standing desks: if you sit for too long, you’ll get diabetes and die. By contrast, when we move, a lot of good things happen. We become rich, famous, and sexy. Or at least we get in better shape and can write blog posts a lot faster!

Walking Helps Us Think

Ferris Jabr in his excellent New Yorker article Why Walking Helps Us Think, asks: “What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing?” Moving the oxygen in gives the little gray cells the right kind of food to get the job done.

He also says this:

“When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.”

So to speed up our thoughts, all we need to do is run a brisk mile.

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Put One Foot in Front of Another

Walking or hiking changes our moods and our thoughts, as well as letting us change the pace of our thoughts. We’ve all had the experience of our outer pace changing our inner pace. Sometimes it starts with music. And knowing that merely putting one foot in front of the other can quicken our thoughts, well, it’s a refreshing idea.

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Daydream Believer

Whether you’re outside hiking, or inside walking on a treadmill, spacing out can lead to creative ideas. And all your need to get started is a pair of walking shoes.

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It’s Not Just Anecdotal Any More

In the good old days (ok, pre-2014), people thought walking helped their creativity, but there was no science to backup the idea that creativity was linked to walking. Then a study, from Stanford came along, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. And this article from the New York Times: Want to Be More Creative? Take a Walk.

Dr. Oppezzo, who led the study says

“Again, walking markedly improved people’s ability to generate creative ideas, even when they sat down after the walk. In that case, the volunteers who had walked produced significantly more and subjectively better ideas than in their pre-exercise testing period.”

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How Does Walking Improve Your Life?

Do you walk to be more creative? Do you take advantage of the new ideas you generate right after a walk? Let me know by leaving a comment!

 

Comments

  1. This post was a great reminder! I do get my best ideas and inspirations from my time away from my desk! Especially when I am exercising!

    • Hi Justine,

      I need to remind myself, too. To get up and move around, to go for a walk, and to get enough exercise every day. Sometimes I think “oh, I’ll just skip it for this once” and that’s never a good idea.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  2. I like to take time away from the creative process for ideas to incubate in my unconscious mind. I find this works better than trying to force ideas.

    Walking can help, although I don’t do it every day. Personally I like to start the day with meditation and an L sit to handstand (basic yoga/gynmastic move).

    • Hi Clement,
      Anything that lets ideas incubate can be helpful to creativity. For me, they show up the most often when it’s inconvenient, such as in the shower or while I’m driving and can’t write them down.
      That handstand sounds terrific!
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Carol

  3. This year I’ve been walking between 5-10 miles a day and more at weekends. It has made a huge difference with my stress levels, sleeping and thought processes. There’s nothing like taking a stroll either alone or with some else who wants to clear their heads or mull stuff over.

    I used to say I haven’t got enough time, but I’ve come to realise there’s plenty of time and I just wasn’t managing it very well!

    ~Kittie

    • Wow, Kitty! 5-10 miles a day? That’s more than a casual stroll, for sure. I’ve been walking more, too, but not miles. More like steps. Good for you!

      And thank you for stopping by, and for your support, always. One day, we’ll take a walk together. 😀

      Carol

  4. I recently realized how much time I was spending sitting – a lot. So, I’ve started walking. I love it! I always thought that I didn’t have time and that my work would fall behind. Instead, I’m finding myself refreshed and ready to take on the day. I think I’m even accomplishing more! Ha-ha! Great ideas always come to me at inconvenient times when there’s no paper or device to record it! Great post!

    • Hi Amanda,

      WE all tend to sit too much (me, especially). It’s funny how our minds play tricks on us, telling us we don’t have time. We have to take it on faith that we’ll feel better and that we do have time!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Carol

  5. Lucretia Lamprey, PhD says:

    Is it good exercise to get shot out of a cannon? Asking for a friend.

  6. I have a stand up desk but I still need to get away from it so walking is great. I try to take the dogs for a nice long walk once a day. It gets me out in nature and I’ve returned with quite a few refreshing creative photographs. I would have to say it gives me more to be creative with when I’m out there.

    • Hi Patricia,

      I’ve thought about getting a dog just because it would force me to be outside. You can’t procrastinate on walks when you have a dog, or you’ll have an unhappy dog!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Carol

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