What makes some people more innovative and creative than others? Is it hereditary, a natural trait, or can it be developed through practice?
Is it a matter of exerting more creative juice from the right side of your brain (which is often referred to as the creative side), as regularly suggested? Creativity is an interesting topic that scientists have been studying for some time, with some fascinating results.
Recent studies on creativity found that creative people seem to have more connections in their brains than the less creative.
Connections between brain cells
For their creativity study, researchers from Duke University and the University of Padova in Italy enlisted a group of healthy, college-age participants. They were given some tasks to carry out to measure their creativity.
These included drawing as many geometric objects as they could in five minutes, coming up with innovative and new ways to use common objects and answering questions in multiple ways.
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The sample group was also asked to make a list of creative activities they engage in, including music, creative writing, dance visual art, etc.
After the collation of this data, the participants underwent MRI scans processed with diffusion tensor imaging, this procedure is used to analyze links between 68 regions of the brain. Through this procedure, researchers were able to trace connections in the brain’s white matter.
The MRI test results in comparison with the sample group creativity scores showed that the most creative individuals in the group had notably more brain connections than the least creative individuals in the experimental group.
The major differences between the most and least creative individuals were observed in the frontal lobe of the brain, which regulates cognitive processes. The result from this research shows that it’s not using the right side of the brain that determines creativity. Rather, it’s how many connections are formed between the two hemispheres.
While this sample size was small, it shows the brain processes behind creativity in a new light and lays a concrete foundation for exciting new research. The research team responsible for this study has plans to further expand the scope to studying the relationship between brain connections and IQ.
This research may lead to a breakthrough in early detection of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The benefits of getting in touch with your creativity
Naturally, some people may be more creative than others, creativity is still something that can be cultivated and explored. It’s worth the trouble for the reason below.
One, research has established a connection between regularly doing creative activities to enhanced overall well-being. A 2016 study at the University of Otago in New Zealand requested that 658 university students should keep a diary for 13 days. Included in the diary was what types of creative activities (if any) they performed each day, and what their emotional states were.
Creative activities commonly reported were visual art, Song writing, recipe writing, creative writing, performing music, crocheting, and digital art.
After analyzing the results, it was discovered that the participants had higher feelings of enthusiasm and positive growth on the days after they did something creative. According to Dr. Tamlin Conner, Team lead of the study, and her colleagues:
“This finding suggests a particular kind of upward spiral for well-being and creativity engaging in creative behavior leads to increases in well-being the next day, and this increased well-being is likely to stimulate creative activity embarked same day. Generally, these discovery validates the emerging claims that everyday creativity is a means of cultivating positive psychological functioning.”
Creativity in the workplace may enhance customer experience
Another exciting research performed in 2016 shows that creativity in the workplace may improve the customer experience and the experience of employees. The study was carried out at the University of East Anglia.
Researchers found that workplaces which were rated as creative by their managers got higher ratings from customers. Employees at these workplaces also felt more like their needs were being met. They also experienced greater job satisfaction.
On these findings, the study’s lead author, Dr. Ieva Martinaityte, stated:
“We are living in a constantly changing environment and companies need to adapt to changes in technology and customer needs. Customers want an exclusive service and that feeling of being special, being creative is a way to achieve and enhance their experience.
“To enhance the customer experience will increasingly stem from frontline employees’ creativity rather than scripted role performance.”
Aside from that, being creative is fun! Engaging in a creative activity like writing, painting, dancing or inventing recipes etc is one of the great spices of life. If you’re not taking the time to explore creative endeavors, you’re missing out!
Ways to get your creative juices flowing
There are so many ways to get your creative juices flowing that it’s impossible to list them all. You’re only limited by your imagination! If you’ve been in a decline lately and want to get creative, listed below are some of the many ways you can begin;
• Meditate. A study has linked certain aspects of meditation with enhanced creativity.
• Keep a dream journal. Buy a notebook and put it on your nightstand. Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Use these for inspiration for stories, poems, paintings, songs… anything!
• Get some art supplies and go crazy. Just grabbing a sketch-pad and colored pencil is inspiring in itself. Don’t worry about technique, just get started!
• Read a book. Delve into some good books of fiction or poetry. The more you read, the more new ideas you’ll absorb.
• Take a class. Sign up for a dance, pottery, craft or art class. You’ll not only gain experience in your chosen creative pursuit, you’ll also meet new people with the same interests. Art buddies are the best!
• Exercise. Exercise makes the body feels better, through the release of endorphins. This opens up the mind to receive inspiration.
• Relax. Take a walk, take a nap or any other relaxing activity. This helps relax the brain so it can become more creative.
• Talk to people. By listening to opinions from other people, your ideas and creativity will get a boost. Activate your brain activity by talking to strangers and friends alike
• Don’t keep repeating. Repeating the same ideas become a habit, and this does not help creativity. Think outside the box, try something new, break the mold, create something totally out of the ordinary and see where it goes.
• Be a flexible thinker. Flexibility in thinking helps build capacity to control and direct thoughts. It allows for adjustment to a novel way of thinking. Flexible thinkers can apply this ability to what they perceive and can focus on the situation at hand.
Creativity is simply intelligence having fun……..
What other ways do you get yourself in a creative mindset? Please share!