What? You don’t think you do? Really? Even our Beloved Leader LB found himself regularly cramping his own style in at least two of the ways listed here. (Hint: “You Beat Your Head Against a Problem Without Taking Breaks” and “You Stay Within Your Comfort Zone and Isolate Yourself,” but don’t tell him you heard it here.)
So, c’mon, which of these traps do you keep getting caught in?
by Thorin Klosowski
We often talk about the simple things you can do to boost creativity and create more of those magical eureka moments, but many of us tend to sabotage creativity more than we cultivate it. Here are some of the self-sabotaging things you’re probably doing every day.
You Beat Your Head Against a Problem Without Taking Breaks
When you get stuck on something, it’s easy to just pound your head against the problem until you break through, but science suggests that’s a terrible approach. Over the years, study afterstudy shows that taking breaks and embracing boredom is key for generating new ideas.
Why? It’s pretty simple: when you take a break and get a little bored, that signals to your brain that you need fresh ideas, which spurs creative thinking. Call it daydreaming, letting your mind wander, or whatever else, but when your brain does it, it’s approaching problems from a new angle. When you’re bored, you want to stop being bored, and that means your brain looks for new solutions, which is why some of our best ideas come in the shower.
This happens because brains have a couple of different modes when it comes to this stuff, a “focused mode,” where you’re learning new things or working, and a “diffuse mode” where you’re more relaxed. It turns out we’re more creative when we’re in the “diffuse mode.” Various studies have shown we’re more creative in this diffuse mode, including when you’re groggy,asleep, and a little drunk.
The same goes for breaks. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that something as simple as a walk can boost your creativity and other studies have suggested the same thing (exercise may help too). We’re not sure why this is the case, but walking likely boosts your mood a little while also letting your mind wander away from work, which helps you push through those creative blocks.
Regardless of how you do it, take more breaks throughout the day. Even a nap can help boost your creative output if used correctly.
You Stay Within Your Comfort Zone and Isolate Yourself
It’s pretty easy to stuck in a comfort zone where you’re not experiencing anything new. While that’s helpful for efficiency, it kills your creativity in all kinds of ways. When you stick within your comfort zone, you also tend to isolate yourself off from the rest of world. When you do that, you’re not creating new experiences, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, or challenging yourself. This kills your creativity quicker than you might think.
For example, speaking with researcher Adam Galinsky, The Atlantic points out that travel and cultural immersion are key in keeping the brain mind creative: