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8 ways to boost creativity

8 ways to improve creativity

3 min read
  • Motivation, Resilience & Growth Mindset

There is currently a big debate in schools as to if creativity can be taught. But is this really the case? Akin to nurturing a small flame into a large fire, it is probably more accurate to state that creativity is something that can be developed. So how can adults improve creativity?

8 Ways to Improve Creativity

1. Encourage better self-talk

In a study on anagrams, participants who asked themselves questions (“Will I do well?”) solved significantly more than those who had declared they would succeed (“I will do well”). One possible reason why this strategy is effective is because by asking yourself questions, your brain automatically starts searching for answers, acting as a call to action. Other research has linked how you talk to yourself to your mindsetconcentration and resilience.

2. Keep a dream diary

Research on creativity has found that individuals who kept dream diaries were seen to increase their volume of ideas, the degree of extra details, and to create more abstract titles for their drawings. Taking note of dreams evokes emotional expressiveness, narratives of imagery, humour, and the presence of fantasy, all of which are essential ingredients for creativity.

3. Do some physical activity

Research from the University of Hertfordshire, coupled with research from Stanford University, has shown that by ‘letting yourself go’ through exercise can allow you to boost your creativity. Walking and running were seen to expose participants to an array of different environmental cues that stimulated the brains imagination and thus creativity.

4. Believe in “you and back yourself

Scientists have conducted research examining whether or not you can will yourself to be creative. Results showed that novice musical learners were able to boost their creativity by being instructed to improvise. This process allowed the musicians to be more creative in their approach to expressing themselves. They backed themselves, believed in themselves being able to push the boundaries without necessarily having a lot of experience to do so.

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5. Be part of a team

An interesting study has looked at the benefit of children working in a team vs working in competition. Researchers found that children were more likely to formulate a creative argument whilst in a team setting vs working alone to win a task. By developing a team around you that adds to your skill-set, you can create an environment where creativity is encouraged and welcomed.

6. Find your happy place

When you find your happy place, you find an ideal setting to be more creative in. A study investigating the effect of mood states on creativity found that when people were in a positive mood, they became more creative. People who were in a positive mood thought dynamically to solve a variety of different problems.

However, people who were in a bad mood were less creative and inevitably solved less problems. A positive attitude provides an insight into situations you wouldn’t necessarily think of when in a negative mood, promoting a more creative way of thinking.

7. Listen to music that makes you feel good

Creativity is higher in people that listen to ‘happy music’ due to its ability to improve mood. Listening to music can also reduce the amount of stress we experience. Our blog on reducing stress explores some different ways on how we can simplify this process. However this is not to be confused with revising with music on.

8. Don’t dwell on what isn’t working

Dwelling can be self-destructive as it prevents you from appreciating the present moment and utilising effective scheduling for the future. Reflection is different to dwelling, the former is looking at what might have gone wrong, whereas the latter is something that mutes our creativity by preventing progression. If you need more inspiration about how to improve creativity and develop a Growth Mindset, check out our guide on how to develop a Growth Mindset.

Check out our blogs and free infographics, if you need more inspiration about how to improve creativity and develop a growth mindset.

About the editor

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch is a Chartered Psychologist and a leading expert on illuminating Cognitive Science research in education. As Director at InnerDrive, his work focuses on translating complex psychological research in a way that is accessible and helpful. He has delivered thousands of workshops for educators and students, helping improve how they think, learn and perform. Bradley is also a prolific writer: he co-authored four books including Teaching & Learning Illuminated and The Science of Learning, as well as regularly featuring in publications such as The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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