There are so many cliches flying around where creativity and mental ability are concerned. For example: “Practice makes perfect,” or “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” or “Just do it,” or “Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Well, though all of these sayings have there place and a sense of truth all their own, sometimes we just need someone to tell us what to do to make something better. I’m going to share some tips that I use to keep my mind and spirit sharp, so when I want to be creative, I am on point.
“The big myth is that the right side of the brain is somehow a creativity bull’s-eye. That’s not the case, and doesn’t have anything to do with handedness. You need resources from both sides of your brain to be creative. All people use both sides of the brain.” —David Wolman
- Do Crossword Puzzles – Yes, I’m a crossword junkie. I watched my grandmother and mother work them all the time when I was a child. I figure I could be addicted to far worse things. It’s not like I spend hours filling in those boxes…just about 20 minutes a day is all I need. The more I do them, the faster I get and the tighter my memory becomes. Any activity that engages mind, memory, language, and your hands helps to keep both sides of your brain active and sharp. To help activate your right brain even more, use color pencils and decorate your puzzle when it’s complete.
- Purposely take in the details of your surroundings as much as you can – Colors, the details of the faces, clothing, and mannerisms of those around you, the smells, the lighting, the sounds. Is there music, people talking, dogs barking, a baby crying? Then, when you leave that place, try to recall as many details as you can, even write them down or sketch the scene. This exercise is a wonderful way to increase memory and generate vivid clarity when you DO remember things.
- People watch – Yes, sit on a bench at the mall or park and just watch people. See how they are different from you, from each other or what they have in common with you. Again, as in #3, take in the details of how they look, act, smell, sound. Try to connect these experiences with an emotion. For example, if an elderly woman reminds you of your own grandmother, think of a time when you were with her and felt a strong emotion. I guarantee you will be able to recall your little time sitting in the park people watching with clarity. Connecting emotions to thoughts and experiences is a key to keeping the mind sharp and active.
- Connect with your spiritual higher power as often as you can – Having an open heart to God and the universe will only increase your own ability to know love and peace in your life. However you choose to make this connection is totally up to you, however. I like to both pray and meditate, and just have simple one-on-one chats with God every day. If you don’t have a belief in a higher power, then simply allow yourself to be grateful for your life and the fact that you are here on the planet. Reach deeper within yourself with each time you take time to center. Be open for new spiritual experiences and creative ideas no matter what religion or lack there of. Above all, use this time to bring more love, clarity, and understanding into your life.
- Keep a journal of your moments with Spirit, with God, or with yourself – I’ve gleaned so much wisdom and understanding from rereading my old journal entries. Sometimes ideas and inspiration is not for that moment but for a time to come. Try different mediums for recording your thoughts. One time use language, the next draw or paint, the next record your voice or sing. The extra creative effort gives you a connection between your spirit and creative expression. This usually brings a strong sense of joy and peace, again, the emotions play a key role in engaging the mind/spirit teamwork that takes us beyond where we thought we could go creatively.
- Listen to music – This is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. I think I would die if I couldn’t soak in the beautiful melodies so many have created. I like a wide variety of music genres, but my favorites are jazz/blues and acoustic guitar and piano ballads. I listen deeply to the lyrics, the chords, the details that you could miss if you don’t quiet your mind and your surroundings. I try to predict where the melody is going if I’ve never heard the song before. This is really a mathematical exercise since music is really based on a math scale. There are only so many logical places that a song can go within a certain key. Your mind will make the the most logical choice if you allow it to lead. I do realize that the ability to do this may be a gift and not everyone can do it, but you might give it a try anyway. Just pay attention in a deeper way next time you listen to music.
Be Beautiful-Be Creative-Be Happy!