6 Ways to Unlock Your Creativity (#1 Turn Off the Real Housewives Marathon)



You know you'll be stuck inside on not a few Saturday nights when the winter weather comes calling and your social life slows down. Use this as a guide to unlock your creativity and do something more fulfilling than tuning out to the Real Housewives marathon. And if the prospect of boredom isn't enough to spur you into appreciating creativity, Real Simple tells us a 2006 study from George Washington University concluded that continued creativity slows the aging process. 

Keep a Notebook By Your Bed

A fascinating article in Scientific American explains that our brains suck at filtering out distraction when we're tired. That's why brilliant ideas happen right before you're about to fall asleep or while you're in your morning shower. That project you're working on at the office? You'll come up with a potential solution when your mind's ability to be analytical and focused is, well, fuzzy. It'll take a bit of effort, but if you can jot down a note about your great idea before you fall asleep or have your first cup of Joe, you'll be surprised how much more creative your actions and thinking will be. More than a few successful writers have said ideas for bestsellers came in bed or in a dreamlike, drowsy state. What if they hadn't written those ideas down? Do it!

Take a Class

Any class at all that helps you delve into a hobby or interest will get your creative juices flowing. Jazz, ballet, voice and learning an instrument for the first time access the parts of our thinking that so many adults don't have an opportunity to access in their day job, while they're grocery shopping or trekking kids to soccer practice. 

Embrace the Fail

Michael Jordan knows exactly how many shots he's missed and he's been quoted saying, "I've failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." It may sound like negative thinking to embrace failure, but it can spur you on to success and make you try harder next time. But more importantly, failure leads to learning, growing and allows you to come up with new ideas. Think about all the times something worked out perfectly, there was no need to analyze, end of story. Creativity is a journey. And failure is essential to keeping the ride going. Think of a less than optimum outcome as part of the process. It ushers in something new and different, always.

Exercise Your Fantasies

We're not all writers. This exercise isn't about being Tolstoy, but if you sit and write down your perfect life, you've got the perfect way to access more creativity. Start with the broad strokes your brain comes up with, then challenge yourself to do it over with more detail. Try to be as detailed as possible down to the outfit you're wearing when you're giving your thank you speech at the Oscars podium or who's sitting next to you front row at Fashion Week. What was the menu like at the Vanity Fair party? You've got to exercise your imagination to give it strength. Many gurus say visualizing our future in this way leads us on to the path that makes dreams reality. So, win-win.

Be a Player

Everything in life is all about perspective. The way you view your activities can affect their outcome, I'm sure you know. So instead of tackling a problem or chore with a negative 'tude, adopt a playful perspective. See if you can get something done in the time it takes to listen to Jay Z's "Tom Ford" in the background. Talk to a neighbor you never have before, thinking of it like a game, to see how many new people you can meet in a week. Making a game out of new experiences helps to relieve stress and anxiety, making us happier and more likely to engage in them.

Learn Something New

This is tied into taking a class, but let's face it, not all of us have the time. So if you can't get to Pasta From Scratch night at the Y, pick up a book, look up "How To Needlepoint" on Pinterest or templates for sketching. Create an entire how-to Pin Board. Once you know the basics of a craft or skill, you'll be able to experiment with it on your own. And since you're embracing your fails and making a game out of it, you've got no reason not to keep challenging yourself to find new ways to do anything you choose.