5 ways to jumpstart your your creativity

Struggling to make a change?  Have writer's block?  Blanking on a creative solution to a problem?  Try one or more of these tips to shake things up and get in your creative flow:

1.  Move.  Run, dance, climb, stretch, shadowbox.  Put your body in motion in whatever way it craves.  When you get into your body, you get out of your head - your analytical, and often hypercritical, mind - and connect instead with your intuition.  Listen to your body for cues as to what kind of movement you need.  Where are you feeling tense?  That part of your physical self is likely storing stagnant energy that, when released, will catapult you out of your rut.  Are your hips tight?  Grab a hula hoop and let loose.  Shoulders tense?  Put on some music and roll them around to the beat.  Feet restless?  Go for a walk around the block.  Move for at least 10 minutes.  Notice the shift physical movement creates in your mood and mindset.

2.  Play.  Playfulness is at the root of creativity.  Through play, we more easily reach "flow state" (also called "the zone"), or the mental state you experience when you're so absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time, and things just "flow".  Play can activate the flow state as it puts you in the present, pushes your inner critic aside and opens you up to your intuition.  Children, of course, are great reminders to play.  So, the next time your 3-year-old daughter or nephew asks, "Will you play with me?", say YES!  Get out those Legos, color in a (children's) coloring book with crayons, play dress up, build a fort.  And watch your imagination wake up!

3.  Clear.  As in, your space.  When you create space in your physical environment, you make room for opportunity, new energy and fresh ideas.  Start small: pick up the clutter from the living room floor.  Toss or file all loose papers on your desk.  Clean out the kitchen junk drawer.  Pick 5 items from your closet to donate (be ruthless!).  Then observe what happens next.  If the urge to purge overtakes you, go with it.  You're making room for the new - in your surroundings AND in your life.  Empty spaces are places to create what is possible.

4.  Try something new.   To generate a fresh perspective, do something you've never done before.  It can be as significant as signing up for a juggling class or as simple as taking a new route home from the office.  When we do new and different things, we think different thoughts and have different feelings.  Try that mysterious-sounding dish on the lunch menu.  Download the #1 song in the genre of music you listen to the least, then play it on full blast.  Observe the sensations created by your new experience.  What is different as a result?

5.  Vegetate.  This one may seem counterintuitive, but in order to allow creative ideas to germinate and flow through you, you need to give your intellect a rest.  Allow your subconscious mind time to marinate new ideas.  Doing nothing - meaning, spending time with no specific activity or outcome in mind - is a great way to make these things happen.  Give yourself permission to lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling, electronic devices and books and music out of reach, for an unspecified amount of time.  Better yet, lie in the grass at a park and stare up at the clouds.  Let everything go!  Notice over the following day or so any resulting insight or change.  Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is nothing.

The next time you're wanting to bring about a shift - in your thinking, your creative work or your life - try one of these jumpstarts daily for a week.  Then comment below on your experience.  I look forward to hearing about what happens!


sueños azules | acrylic on canvas, 19.5x16" (2013)

sueños azules | acrylic on canvas, 19.5x16" (2013)