Exercise to Boost Your Creativity
- Wednesday, 10 April 2013
For many, tapping into our creative side can be difficult, and at times, seemingly impossible. In fact, speaking with many people has led me to believe that a significant number of people do not even believe they have any creative ability at all. Given how we are raised today and the values of our collective culture, it’s not difficult to fathom why this belief is so common.
We live in a society that highly values the qualities of the analytical, logical, and the purely “rational” point of view. The educational systems emphasize math and science, while cutting art and music programs. Despite the great value of analytical thinking, overemphasizing it comes at the cost of losing out on another amazing part of our being. To think linearly helps us to progress, move forward, and complete tasks. However, it is from our creative side that we develop vision. Without vision, we have no idea where to progress to, both as individuals and as a society. Because we grow up in a culture that generally does not value creativity, we tend to suppress it. This leads many adults to believe that they are not creative at all.
Where Creativity Originates
While nobody is quite sure where consciousness arises from, we have determined where it resides. The brain is the medium through which consciousness travels. To simplify things: math, logic, and analytical thinking are left brain dominant activities. Creative functions such as music, art, and the ability to see things as a whole, as opposed to parts, are right brain dominant activities. Most of us spend a significant amount of time in left brain dominant thinking, solving problems from a very linear perspective. This becomes necessary early in life in order to be successful in school, and later, at work. If this does not come naturally to a person, they tend to struggle in public education systems and never really get the opportunity to cultivate their creative nature. We tend to get stuck in left brain dominant thinking in order to be successful, at least by society’s standards. In order to spark creativity, it is therefore necessary to escape this pattern of thinking and one of the most effective ways of doing this is to force our self out of the left brain momentarily.
Moving Into Your Creative State
One of the most effective means of stopping the constant chatter of the left brain is vigorous exercise. Whether it’s running, swimming, cycling, riding an elliptical, or simply an intense walk, it doesn’t matter. The key is finding an activity that is intense enough to force you out of your current pattern of thinking. The beauty of this approach is you will know if it is working or not. If you find yourself exercising, and you’re still thinking about the past days events, your current to-do list, or something somebody said or did to you, that’s the cue to pick up the pace. The goal will be reached when you are forced to focus on the physical activity you’re participating in. Once this state is reached, space will be created for inspiration, creativity, and new ideas to begin bubbling to the surface. Vigorous physical exercise helps your creative process by forcing you out of left brain dominant thinking. In addition, exercise improves blood flow, while increasing oxygen to the brain. The brain therefore functions more effectively and efficiently when one exercises regularly. Studies have also shown that exercise increases specific chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and glutamate, not only improving cognition, but also helping to decrease depression. Exciting new research shows that regular exercise can even lead to the creation of new neurons.
Motion is Life
Motion is essential for life. In fact, it’s the essence of life. The less motion we experience in our day, the less life we experience. Like the saying “a rut is only a few feet from the grave,” many of us are stuck in the routine of getting up, driving to work, sitting at a desk, driving home, sitting on the couch, and then going to bed. Not only is this bad for the body, but it leads to stagnation in our thought process. Not only do we perform the same activities everyday, but we think the same thoughts, as well. When you increase motion in your life by exercising, you will begin to expand your mental and emotional range, becoming more able to experience a broad range of emotions. This will allow you to view things from a more holistic perspective, further deepening your creative abilities.
Photo Credit: Diamond Farah