Often, creative thinking can be a lot like finding love: The more you try, the more it can evade you. Creativity is an elusive attribute that can’t be forced, but when inspiration strikes, it can unlock a flood of innovation and ideas. So how can you tap into your creative resources without smothering their natural, uninhibited state? Try these tips out and let the ideas flow.

  • Step out of your comfort zone. Creativity is fueled by new experiences, so sitting on your couch probably won’t help get the juices going. Take a nice long walk, try your hand at dancing lessons, or just doodle on a page. Anything to get your brain working differently will help give you a new perspective.
  • Document your ideas. A lot of our best thoughts may never make it farther than the recesses of our minds if they aren’t fleshed out and recorded for use later. Have an unusual, interesting dream? Write it down in a journal. Think of a wonderful design in the shower? Sketch it out on paper. You never know when you might be able to use your thoughts later.
  • Let your mind wander. At work, this may be an unproductive method, but at the end of the day or in the morning before the rat race begins, allow yourself some time to go where your mind takes you. We spend the vast majority of our time training our brains to focus on various tasks, while the creative process often begins when we loosen structure and let our minds organically move through the natural thought process.
  • Embrace solitude. Throughout the day, we’re bombarded with situations, people and bright screens full of information. Giving ourselves time alone in this day and age is often rare, but some of our best thoughts are likely to occur without the distraction of words, text and sound. Try sitting quietly in a comfortable spot and see what comes to you.
  • Frequent the places you love most. Everyone has that spot–whether it’s reclining poolside, relaxing in the cozy corner of a cafe or hiking a scenic trail. You hear the crisp splash of a dive, smell a shot of espresso or look out over snow capped peaks and your mind clears. Relaxed, energized and inspired by the scene around you, you embrace the thoughts surfacing uninhibited in your mind. You’d be surprised at how efficiently your mind can work when it’s unobstructed by stress and away from uncomfortable environments.
  • Use MeetUp. If you have a creative hobby or are looking to start one, MeetUp can be a great place to meet likeminded individuals who can encourage and help you. In addition to honing your skills, you’ll get to spend time in a creative environment where free thinking and discussion are encouraged.
  • Take the pressure off. High pressure situations are the antithesis to creativity. What relaxes you? Whether it’s lifting weights, meditation or just taking your dog on a walk, engage in an activity that frees your mind of its daily worries. Once you allow yourself to breathe more easily, your mind clear and you’ll be able to focus on more innovative ideas.
  • Work out your mind. It’s a cliche you’ve heard time and again for a reason: Exercises like crossword puzzles and memory games are a great way to keep your brain sharp. Not only will this keep your mind in good working order as you age, it will help train your memory, cognition and ability to innovate. Apps are another effective way to work out your brain. Try Luminosity or Fit Brains Trainer.

When do you feel most creative? Let us know!

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