We’re all creative beings, regardless of our careers, personalities and hobbies. Creativity isn’t just about painting or photography. By unleashing your inner creativity, you can improve your problem-solving skills, have more fun, feel more relaxed, be more open and flexible, and feel empowered to make changes in your life because you know you’re capable of trying something new.
“You may think that because you’re not an artist, you’re not creative,” says Dennis Buttimer, M.Ed, CEAP, RYT, CHC, a life and wellness coach at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. “But we all have a creative side. When you enable it, you’ll start to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin that feel good and help the body relax and dilate.”
Exercises to unlock creativity
Buttimer suggests the following exercises and activities to help you think and live more creatively:
Consider what you’ve always wanted to do. Are you curious about painting, expressive writing, cooking, baking, calligraphy, photography or landscape design? Sign up for an online class, read a book or watch some YouTube video tutorials. Then give it a try!
Go outside your comfort zone. “Let’s say you’re right-handed and want to be more creative,” says Buttimer. “For one day, try initiating everything with your left hand, such as opening doors, brushing your teeth and putting on clothes. This changes what’s going on in the brain. The right side of the brain typically holds more creativity, while the left side is more logical and oriented toward problem-solving.”
Sit with your emotions. “The right side of your brain tends to be the more emotional part,” he explains. “By letting yourself process your emotions, you may be able to unlock creativity by using that part of the brain.”
Try an eye movement exercise. “Sit with your eyes open and look straight ahead,” says Buttimer. “Then sweep your eyes to the right and then to the left. Continue to go back and forth. This is another way to unlock what’s going on in your brain, so you’re able to connect with more creative elements.”
Go for a walk. One study found that going for a walk increased creativity. Taking a walk changes your physical setting, which can spur you to think differently and approach problems from a different angle.
Leave room for processing. Do you ever get your best ideas while you’re in the shower? This could be because you’re allowing your mind to wander without the distraction of a video, podcast, email, text or phone call. Allow yourself a little breathing room each day to think without distractions.
No matter what you decide to do, “give yourself permission to experiment and not do things perfectly,” says Buttimer. “Have a little fun.”
Get inspired by more creative ways to express yourself.