3 Indulging Distractions to Stimulate Your Creativity
This list includes three daily activities that foment creative ideas and help us to solve problems.
Who hasn’t woken up from a dream with the feeling of having lost something important? This step from the unconscious to the conscious has robbed us all of good ideas, or at least that is what we think when we feel that we have lost the product of a moment of clarity. Daily enlightenment tends to evaporate and be replaced by a mental cloudiness combined with frustration; and it happens when we least expect it (showering, looking out of the window, daydreaming, washing dishes…).
And although it has happened to us all that, in one of those moments of meditative distraction we have a good idea or a good solution to a problem, we tend to disapprove, for example, the act of simply looking out of the window; of becoming absent from the world for a few moments while we carry out an automatic task. Curiously, it is sometimes exactly at that time where we need to be. The sudden flashes of understanding occur in moments of distraction.
These are some acts that foment necessary and illuminating distractions to discover the good ideas and solutions we have inside us. The list is a kind of homage to daily life and its necessary moments of creative clarity.
Take a shower
The task of taking a shower creates a kind of ‘cognitive cleansing’. It allows the brain to mix things, the essential base of creativity. As one lathers, for example, one is thinking of anything but that, or perhaps linking water and soap with something else and solving a problem. We must remember that Archimedes had his ‘Eureka!’ moment while relaxing in the bathtub.
Look out the window
The act of looking out the window – and not necessarily looking at what you see – is also a form of relaxation and a current of creativity. Think about the number of women who do so in the paintings of Edward Hopper. It’s not necessary for the painter to explain to us that they are thinking about themselves, reflecting, remembering or waiting, and not looking at the things of the world. It is not necessary because we know it by experience. Sometimes we have spent time reflecting in that same posture, and often accompanied by a pulse of good ideas or solutions to a problem. One must not relegate the being carried away – if we do not take the time to look out the window as a fundamental act to understand, then nothing we do will have much sense. We need moments of clear distraction in order to make sense of the worlds that we inhabit.
Something similar happens when we walk. Walking can be understood as a subversive act that allows us to be in our bodies and in the world but without being occupied by them. Or as relaxation, but relaxation that is not a pause because we don’t interrupt the flow in consonance with the external world. By making a journey the rhythm of the things that appear during the trajectory is combined with the interior monologue taking place in our heads and many creative solutions can arise. The landscape and the movement stimulate the unconscious and remove anything by force that could be stagnated there.
These most ordinary acts become the most productive of acts. The periods of the incubation of ideas are dopamine (the neurotransmitter that is released when we are relaxed and comfortable), and with more relaxation, more dopamine. The more dopamine, the more creativity. The important thing is that we become weird, circular and unexpected. In other words, achieve moments of distraction that allow the mind to open the door to creativity. Mind your mindless tasks.
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