To think creatively requires more energy than our typical, behavioral mode of thinking.
After a while, going about your regular day and doing mundane or routine tasks can become almost entirely effortless for the mind. You don’t have to think very much at all when it comes to daily routine because it’s more efficient not to, to simply do what you’ve always done, as you’ve always done it. But to think creatively is to break away from the typical or expected, and instead pursue details, differences, and possibilities.
Creative thinking is hard work, not only for the conscious mind, but for the subconscious mind as well. As a result, research has shown, we are most creative when we’re in states involving highly active or compressed energy.
These states are referred to as as activating moods, where we are either forced into deep contemplation or open thoughtfulness.
Activating moods are the ones where we are driven to either think more critically or holistically, with a fine-toothed comb or with open arms. Typically these moods are spurred by some extrinsic event or motivation – a first kiss, a break up, a promotion, etc. ” or some intrinsic state, such as depression or mania, a changing of situational or emotional tides.
Because of these shifts (whether caused by intrinsic or extrinsically events or motivations), we are moved out of our typical modes of thinking and into ones with a different type of energy. And this leads us to uncover creative possibilities, more often than not.
What happens for many of us is we find parts of our day or lives where we aren’t encountering a lot of activating moods. Work or school, relationships, hobbies, they all start to normalize and we find ourselves suddenly not feeling as creatively inspired as we once were (or would like to be).
We have to find ways to gain energy for our creative selves. This can take many different shapes, depending on you as an individual. Energy can come through small hobbies or enjoyable tasks that help make us feel good, like doodling or free writing, dancing, even simply listening to energetic music or watching a new movie.
You can probably relate to this notion if you think to a time you saw or experienced something that suddenly sparked a little creative energy in you.
What matters is that we find ways to incorporate these small sparks, these subtle creative activators, into our day-to-day lives.
Find time to doodle, even just for a few minutes with nothing in particular to draw. Find time to write, even if it’s just journaling about your thoughts or current mood. Find time to connect to the acts or habits that tend to energize you creatively. You don’t have to dedicate a lot of time, all it takes to spark a mood is one word, one idea, one minute.
Doodle by Sandra Strait.