4 practical ways to improve creativity

ways to improve creativity

When we think of the word creativity, we normally think of ‘artists’, ‘musicians’ – people who ‘create’ for a living. As Michele Root-Bernstein says, in her book Sparks of Genius- “It’s the problem-solving processes they exhibit rather than the content or craft that make them so. Just about anything we do can be addressed in a creative manner, from housecleaning to personal hobbies to work.” We can all benefit from living a more creative life – living creatively means we are able to see things in a new way, which helps us engage more fully and find more joy in our everyday lives.

Here are 4 of the best ways to improve creativity in our everyday lives:


Learning to meditate is a fantastic way to improve your creativity. A recent study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University, (published in the journal Frontiers in Cognition), has shown that meditation can improve creativity. The study showed that meditation changes the way that we think about a problem, leading to us finding more open and novel solutions to problems. Meditation has many other benefits as well –changing and deepening our brainwave patterns, allowing both sides of our brain to work together better, boosting our ‘feel good’ endorphins. If you think you haven’t got the time to meditate you should think again. The benefits are so great that you probably don’t have the time to NOT meditate.


Free-writing is a wonderful tool that is used daily by thousands of creative people. It is a similar concept to brainstorming. All you need is a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil. There are studies that show that writing freehand activates a greater area of your brain than using a computer – so go low-tech for this one!

Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write – anything at all that comes into your head. Don’t worry at all about spelling or grammar – just let it flow. If you can’t think of anything to write just write a single word over and over or write ‘I can’t think of anything to write’… Write as fast as you can. When the timer goes off, stop.

Writing like this helps you connect – with your deeper self, with your emotions, with your relationships with the outside world. If you practice this technique daily, you will be amazed at the depth of creativity you will uncover.

Sleep on it!

There is truth in what your mom told you – ‘sleeping on a problem’ really can help you solve it creatively. Proper sleep is essential to creative thought. A study at the University of California in 2009 showed that REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep helps your brain see the associations between unrelated ideas, leading to more creative problem solving. A separate study titled “Sleep inspires Insight” published in Nature in 2004 showed that sleeping on a problem helps people find better solutions. According to the researchers, sleep allows for a restructuring of the brain connections, “setting the stage for the emergence of insight.”

Make things hard for yourself.

This one is the most counter-intuitive – but it certainly is a proven way to improve creativity.

Scientists from the University of Amsterdam showed that when people are forced to cope with unexpected obstacles or distractions they improve their cognitive agility – they are able to make unusual connections and see ‘the big picture’. In short, they increase their creativity. So, try putting some obstacles in your way – work in a new and different environment, turn off the computer and write freehand, set timers and impose deadlines on yourself. Make it hard for yourself and watch the creative juices flow.


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