10 Tips to Increase Your Creativity
1. Eat in Silence
Take at least one of your meals or snacks alone, in silence or subtle ambient music. The process of chewing and receiving calories is highly stimulating to the brain; it’s ideal for generative, creative thought. Don’t look at your phone, a magazine, your computer, or talk. Just let your mind wander.
If you start having an idea, keep following that idea until you feel inspired to act on it. If the inspiration doesn’t come, let that idea pass as it will. If inspiration comes, pull out a sketch pad to put some of your thoughts down.
Only go to a monitor if you know you have the will to resist the temptation to look at any notifications.
Go directly to the posting screen without allowing your eyes to read anything else at all. If you can’t do this, stick with paper.
2. Take Long Baths
Take a bath in silence or subtle ambient music. Spend at least twenty minutes in the bath, but from there, stay only as long as it takes to feel inspired. This could already be happening after twenty minutes, or it may take over an hour.
While you’re in there, scrub your body, use a pumice stone on your feet, stimulate your scalp, and clean your belly-button more thoroughly than you usually do.
Don’t “try” to have creative thoughts. Just let your mind wander and observe the water and your body, and let your thoughts drift as they will.
When you feel inspired, go directly from your bath to a quick shower, a quick towel-off, and then to the activity you are inspired to do (whether that be cleaning, drawing, writing, etc). Strictly avoid all input (such as texts or e-mails) until after you have already completed the activity you were inspired to do.
3. Introspect in the Bathroom
Don’t look at your phone, book, magazine, or mail while you’re in the bathroom. Instead, let your mind run over what you’ve been up to, how you’re feeling, and what you notice around you. Instead of hurrying from the room, take an extra minute in front of the mirror to just feel. If you’re heading back to a conversation, you may be surprised to notice that you pick up threads of the conversation that had been forgotten and now recall what you wanted to say half an hour ago.
4. Read without Distractions
Read regularly. Use physical books in a comfortable place if you’re at all tempted to flip between books on an e-reader. Confine yourself to one or two books at most, and stay put and comfortable – with your phone out of reach. Keep a small notebook nearby to jot down ideas the book gives you.
Read for long enough to be entirely absorbed in the book, forgetting your surroundings and even your identity.
It doesn’t matter if you read fiction or nonfiction – the point is to move your locus of attention fully and let yourself relax into it. When you return to yourself, you’ll bring a new perspective and experience.
5. Write Your Ideas
Get in the habit of writing your ideas down. If you don’t resonate with words as a medium, you can sketch your ideas as little pictures with an occasional word or two to label something.
6. Write Your Dreams
Make space in your morning schedule to write your dreams each morning.
This practice strengthens the connection between the two brain hemispheres, literally increasing the size and function of your corpus callosum, which is critical for creative thought.
Create space in your life for meditation, whether that’s moving meditation like yoga or Qi Gong, or vision-quest meditation where you sit still in a dark room and travel through mindscapes.
All types of meditation that put you into a more imaginative, right-brained state improve neurogenesis – the production of new neurons and neural connections in your brain.
These activities also strengthen your corpus callosum.
8. Make Twilight Sacred Self-Time
Take advantage of early morning and late night hours. Keep your monitors off in the morning.
Don’t check your phone for at least an hour after you wake, and at least two hours before going to sleep. Keep these hours as precious twilight for introspection and creativity.
Use this time to draw, write, meditate, walk, eat, groom, read, stretch, and contemplate in peace. Keep these hours as a safe haven from news, media, communications, or obligations. This time is just for you – your mind, your body, and your emotions.
If early mornings and late nights are not peaceful enough in your house, you can try a divided night schedule where you sleep for three to five hours and then get up for one to two hours, and then go back to sleep for another three to five hours. This schedule is often used by people working to strengthen their ability to recall dreams.
9. Get & Use a Coloring Book
Spend time coloring or drawing. Even if you’re not an artist, this relaxing activity allows your mind to wander and relax, being lightly guided by the activity into a more right-brained, meditative state. There are many excellent coloring books out there to choose from, including mine, Waveward Dreams.
10. Practice Consciousness Alchemy
Practice some form of consciousness alchemy regularly. Whether it be parts work, voice dialogue, the completion process, perspective alchemy, or soul retrieval work, all of these practices strengthen your conscious connections between different parts of yourself.
Through integration you gain access to more of your own knowledge and ideas, and as new connections form, you gain new insights and inspiration.
Consciousness alchemy is an inherently creative process, and brings more creativity in its wake.
The Consciousness Alchemist
PS: I wrote this in my head while eating, and then stopped eating to start typing it out.
Some Bonus Thoughts & Background
Creativity is largely about strengthening your corpus callosum – the part of your brain that connects your left and right brain hemisphere. I had a jump-start on this because of growing up in a household that did weekly meditations, and by having plenty of access to lots of art supplies and being taught mathematical concepts ‘early.’ Math and art were my two favorite subjects, meaning that I was regularly exercising my left- and right-brained functions at home.
Dream recall was also part of my childhood upbringing, and dream recall, like meditation, is shown to increase the size and activity of your corpus callosum. But even though I got a head-start in childhood, there’s no reason you can’t ‘catch up’ by changing your habits and encouraging your own neurogenesis.