istock/VesnaandjicDon't let a good idea pass you by
Do you sometimes get a creative urge, but don't follow through? Next time a creative thought comes into your mind, go with it. Lindsay Schlotte, a busy Wisconsin mother of five and owner of the Etsy shop, Lindsay Rose Design, says, "If I get a new idea, I just have to try it out–even if I get that idea at 3 a.m." Creative thinking isn't just for famous people or professionals. By allowing yourself to explore your creative desires, you'll exercise the part of your brain that's responsible for a sense of well-being and optimism.
istock/josemoraesBring in some fresh materials
Working with the same materials day in and day out can cause boredom. To break up the monotony, buy new supplies (brightly colored yarn, a new leather-bound journal) to help enliven your creative spirit. Schlotte says the occasional shopping trip to purchase new and interesting elements feeds her artistic desires and keeps her motivated.
istock/SquaredpixelsImmerse yourself in the creative works of others
If you feel like your creative side has lost some steam, venture out and explore the artistic works of others. Listen to unfamiliar music, try a new food, or read biographies of innovative people to stimulate creativity, suggests Preston Ni, author and professor in a Psychology Today article. Give yourself permission to take a risk and experience something new. After all, inspiration can be catchy, and your experience just might light your creative spark!
istock/hobo_018Stop the negative self-talk
Of course, you've heard it before: Be kind to yourself; love yourself. But self-criticism has a way of creeping into the creative process, and it can be soul-crushing. Nothing will cause your creative thinking to fizzle out faster than a sharp, inner critic. Instead of negative self-talk and self-judgment, practice accepting yourself (and your work) right as you are and seek to find joy in exploring the creative process, no judgment allowed. (Learn the best ways to stop the incredible damage of negative self talk.)
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Interruptions seem to be everywhere when you're trying to get your creative juices flowing, and it takes more mental energy to regain your focus once you're distracted. Detroit resident Karen Whitsett was feeling creatively stymied after her father passed away. To feel more creatively inspired, "I eliminated television and limited my time on social media. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you aren't mindlessly distracted." So put your phone on silent, turn off social media notifications, and see where your imagination takes you.
istock/DragonImagesNurture your creativity
Through practice and meditation, you can cultivate your creativity. For Whitsett, creating helps her feel a sense of accomplishment and more invigorated. "My aches and pains subside, and there are times I am not aware of space and time. It's a form of meditation in motion for me," she says. In fact, both meditation and creative activities release feel-good chemicals in the brain. (Plus, meditation has a host of healthy benefits.) To begin to access your creative self, try delving into a new project or mediate for five or 10 minutes a day.
istock/SquaredpixelsSet a goal for yourself
For some people, setting a realistic goal can be the motivation needed to reconnect to creativity. A couple of years ago, Jacksonville, Florida photographer, Hannah Wells was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. "Because I own a business, I couldn't stop shooting even though I wasn't really 'feeling' like it," she recalls. Wells realized she had to ignite her artistic passion, so she set a goal for herself. "I started a month-long Photo-A-Day Challenge to give me some direction, and that really helped me find my happy place again," she says. Need help to realize your dream? Try these 14 mantras to make your goals a reality.
Think inspiration only occurs indoors? Wrong. Whether you go to the beach, walk along the trails, or take photos of an evening sunset, head outside to awaken the senses and notice the beauty that surrounds you. (Here's why you should try forest bathing.) "I am blessed to be a photographer in an area where the weather is perfect 90 percent of the time," says Wells. "There are so many landscapes–like an eclectic mix of pine trees, the beach, and urban areas–that provides colors and textures for people's individual stories. I can use my outdoor surroundings to shape the feel of each shoot." Wells adds, "Without access to the outdoors, my creative process would feel restricted. Almost claustrophobic to me."
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