According to a NASA study, 95% of 5-year-olds are creative, but only 2% of adults are creative. The good news? We can recapture creative abilities through the practice of mindfulness meditation.
Dutch cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato found that a type of mindfulness meditation called the open-monitoring method directly correlates to increased creative abilities.
Open monitoring meditation involves being aware of and receptive to every aspect of your experience – noticing thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, and urges – without attaching to those experiences or letting them carry you out of the present moment. This practice of flexible, unrestricted attention leads to divergent thinking patterns that facilitate creativity.
Creativity is an essential skill for the workplace and for life. In the workplace, creativity fuels innovation and differentiation. Creative business ideas set companies apart from one another.
In everyday life, creativity also allows for flexible, resilient thinking patterns. Studies show that creative people are better able to live with uncertainty because they can adapt their thinking to allow for the flow of the unknown. Creativity has also been correlated with lower levels of stress and anxiety and increased levels of well-being and self-expression.
So, let’s get creative. Try out the mindfulness practices below for a creative boost!
Reconnect With The Present Moment. Boost your creative energy and reconnect with your environment by taking a sensory pause (5-4-3-2-1 technique). Notice…
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can hear
- 3 things you can touch
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
Be Curious. When you think you know all the answers, it’s hard to open up your mind to new creative ideas. To boost creative and divergent thinking, practice curiosity rather than judgment. When you notice yourself taking on the role of the expert, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this person/situation?” In addition, notice what piques your curiosity throughout the day and allow yourself to follow those threads.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation. Try starting your next workday or creative session with a few minutes of open monitoring mindfulness meditation. Start by anchoring on awareness of the breath moving in and out. Then, expand your attention to notice thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, and urges as they come and go. There is no need to attach to those experiences and let them carry you out of the present moment. When you are ready to finish your practice, come back to the awareness of breath in the body. Thank yourself for taking a few moments to facilitate calmness and creativity.
Just like mindfulness, creativity is a practice. Try adopting at least one of the practices above once a week – put it in your calendar right now! With a commitment to creativity, you can reap the rewards of workplace innovation and personal resilience and wellbeing.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” –Maya Angelou
Dorsey Standish is the Chief Mindfulness Officer at Mastermind Meditate in Dallas. Her mindfulness practice has helped her succeed at a Fortune 500 tech company, overcome mental illness, and ultimately connect more deeply with those around her. Dorsey’s teachings combine neuroscience research with her experiences in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and multiple weekend, 7-day and 10-day silent meditation retreats. Join Dorsey for one of Mastermind’s upcoming applied mindfulness trainings at mastermindmeditate.com/programs.