Six quick and easy ways to boost your creativity:


The WSJ has a piece that discusses six research-backed ways to provoke an “AHA!” moment. I’ll link out to more information on each.

What do most of the techniques share in common?

Stepping back from the problem in one way or another. I’ve posted before about how distance helps creativity.


1) Do Routine Tasks

“Walking away from a problem to do simple, routine tasks, and letting the mind wander in the process, can spark creative new connections or approaches to solving dilemmas, says a 2012 study in Psychological Science. That helps explain why “a lot of great ideas occur at transition times,” when people are waking up or falling asleep, bathing, showering or jogging, says Jennifer Wiley, a psychology professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and lead author of a 2012 research summary in Current Directions in Psychological Science.”

More here.


2) Exhaustion Can Help

“Students in a 2011 study solved more problems requiring fresh new insights when they tackled them at off-peak times of day—in the evening for morning people, and in the morning for night owls, says the study, published in Thinking & Reasoning.”

More here.


3) Look At Green

“Viewing the color green may help make those ideas more apparent, according to research published last year in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. When students were given creativity tests, those whose test-cover pages had a green background gave more creative answers than those whose pages were white, blue, red or gray. “

More here.


4) Daydream

“Mind-wandering, often seen as daydreaming, allows the brain to incubate new approaches to familiar problems, serving “as a foundation for creative inspiration,” says the 2012 study in Psychological Science… Build time for mind wandering into daily routines, breaking away from tasks requiring concentration to take a walk or run, look out a window or do some relaxing, routine physical task.”

More here.


5) Have A Beer

“Moderate drinking can also relax inhibitions in a way that seems to let the mind range across a wider set of possible connections. It can also help a person notice environmental cues or changes that a sober brain would block out, Dr. Wiley says. In a 2012 study at University of Illinois at Chicago, students who drank enough to raise their blood-alcohol level to 0.075 performed better on tests of insight than sober students.”

More here.


6) Get Happy

“Other research suggests watching funny videos can spark the positive moods linked to higher creativity.

More here.

And if you want a roundup of creativity research — which illustrates the four fundamental principles behind most “eureka!” moments — go here.

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