Summer is almost here, vacation plans are in full swing, and it’s time to relax and recharge! But there’s no need to let your brain take summer leave – in fact, it’s the perfect time to boost your brainpower with some Vitamin C(reativity)!
Creative thinking allows us to problem solve in ways that are unique and much more relaxed and playful. Creative thinking involves a variety of approaches, including:
- Looking for multiple solutions rather than a single answer
- Allowing oneself to brainstorm in wild and crazy directions
- Not judging ideas, but remaining open to them as each may be the start of something useful
- Making mistakes
- Learning both from what has worked and what hasn’t
- Having FUN!
Some people might say they simply aren’t creative, but experts say absolutely anyone can be creative. “It really has to do with open-mindedness,” says Dr. Carrie Barron, co-author of “The Creativity Cure.”
So what can YOU do to boost your brainpower with creativity? Turns out, quite a lot!
1. Get Outside (and put away your phone!)
When was the last time you laced up your hiking boots and got away from it all for a while? Studies show that time spent outdoors, and away from devices like smart phones and laptops, may actually boost creative thinking. According to the study’s authors, immersion in nature can also restore certain brain functions that are taxed by technology, including: attention span, problem solving, and multi-tasking.
2. Let Your Mind Wander
It happens to all of us – we’re walking down the street or half-listening to a friend – and our minds begin to meander in a different direction. One thought may connect loosely to the last, or to something in our environment, but all of a sudden we find ourselves pondering the most random of ideas. Don’t stop yourself! Let your brain go for a stroll unfettered by conscious direction. It turns out that letting your mind wander can trigger brain activity in areas dealing with creative problem solving. I’m a “water wanderer” – in the shower or in a body of water does it for me…
3. Exercise Your Brain!
Mental exercises can improve creativity, says Nancy Andreason, author of The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius. We happen to be pretty fond of PuzzleArt Therapy as a method to boost your brainpower and improve your creativity through mental exercises.
4. Keep on the Sunny Side!
No, no, I don’t mean you should bake in the sun (sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!) but soaking up some positivity will increase your creative problem solving ability. “Generally, positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible yet careful thinking,” says Ruby Nadler, co-author of a study on mood and cognitive flexibility published in Psychological Science.
5. Go for a Walk
Stanford researchers found that walking can boost your brainpower and creativity! They examined people’s creativity levels while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking!
6. Power Up Your Diet
Our diets have an incredible impact on brain function. Our brains consume over 20% of all nutrients and oxygen that we consume. For optimal brain performance, take time this summer to feed your brain plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and get lots of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive and behavioral function. However, our bodies do not make Omega-3 fatty acids, though they are crucial for our health! They can be found in fish, some plants, and nut oils.
7. Doodle in the Margins
Those random squiggles, swirls, cats, and mountains you like to draw during meetings? Keep it up (and maybe bring a pad of paper just for that purpose)! Research suggests doodling during a cognitive task may help improve memory because it keeps the brain stimulated.
Sign up for my free PuzzleArt Brain Game today, and boost your brainpower with improved creative thinking!
Alli Berman is a Brain Fitness expert and the Eye Brain Fitness Guru. She has been an artist, author, educator, creativity consultant, workshop leader, perceptual and sensory products and programs developer, and motivational speaker for the past 30+ years. Berman has served as an educational advisor to the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine for over 30 years, and she is the founder of The Art of Rehabilitation and Anti-Aging Art. She created the PuzzleArt Therapy System in collaboration with behavioral optometrist, Susan Fisher, OD, and through consultation with neuroscientists around the world. Berman uses the system herself on a daily basis to keep her own brain as healthy, engaged, and challenged as possible!