In my blog article, Sleep: the key to being more innovative I reported the importance sleep makes in boosting creativity. Research into the unconscious mind is shedding more light on what 95% of our brain activity is actually for.
Our unconscious mind has long been known to harbour our personality, our beliefs, what we value, our biases while also controlling our bodily functions. Also it is responsible for our habits and creativity. It turns out that sleep is not the only way you can improve your creativity and become more innovative.
Studies have suggested that creative insight is driven by one of two very different states of mind: Concentrated focus and daydreaming. Jonathon Schooler at the University of California found that focused thinking actually undermines inspiration whereas letting your mind wander after taking in information cultivates creative insight.
Michael Shadlen at Columbia University found that when we accumulate enough relevant information in our unconscious mind it triggers our consciousness at that aha moment where a fully formed decision pops into our heads. Shadlen found If you want more aha moments you must first have some relevant material to give your unconscious something to work on.
When you have something for your unconscious mind to do, Schooler recommends finding time for unfocused thinking. This is best done while you’re engaged in an activity that’s not too mentally taxing such as walking, gardening or household chores. People who experience more creative insight tend to report more bizarre imagery while mind wandering. This is normal so don’t try to stop it.
Another way to develop unfocused thinking is to modify your emotional state. Christina Fong at Carnegie Mellon University has found that simultaneously experiencing two emotions such as frustration and excitement encourages creative insight. Fong believes that this is because it indicates you are in an unusual environment making you more attune to novelty and open to change.
Some suggest listening to positive background music such as Vivaldi’s Spring helps you come up with more creative ideas.
Being more creative by tapping into the knowledge stored in your unconscious mind could be a simple as giving yourself a timely break and believing that you can do it.
Note: Google chrome users will need to install the RSS extension
Michael posts on topics relating to organisational growth and excellence
Sign up below to receive my future posts and offers