How Mindfulness Aids Creativity
As well as reducing blood pressure and helping treat a spread of mental illnesses, mindful meditation can jumpstart our creative flow.
How? To begin with, mindfulness stills the mind. It sharpens our focus. We’re able to think more clearly – and by filtering out negative, silly thoughts, we free up space for ideas and inspiration to flow.
A Netherlands study found that by focusing the mind in mindfulness meditation, we’re able to unlock our divergent thinking. That’s when you stop the self-censor and start to dream big.
Another big block to creativity is being restricted by our experiences. We think, ‘Oh that’s not possible, it’s never been done before’ and we limit our potential before we can even visualise it. But a recent study publishes in PLoS One found that mindfulness erodes our cognitive ‘stiffness’ or rigidity, allowing us to think freely.
How to Practice Mindfulness for Creativity
Mindful meditation is about more than just being relaxed – though that is part of it. When you practise mindfulness, you block out any external influences or thoughts and focus on this moment. The here and now.
To begin, sit in a quiet spot. It’s best to do this in a very quiet park – or a space in your home where you won’t be disturbed. Either sit on a cushion, on the floor or on a chair. Get comfortable and keep your eyes slightly open, resting your gaze on the wall in front of you, or on an object.
Your mind will begin to wander. When it does, don’t panic or get frustrated. Just gently bring your focus back to the point in front of you.
Then, notice your breath. Don’t judge it or question it. Simply feel it as you inhale and exhale. Try not to control the breath…just observe it.
As thoughts pop into your head, come back to your breath. Don’t judge yourself, just accept the thought and watch it float away.
Try this for 10 minutes at a time, building up to 30 minutes a day.
Then – create!