It’s a common misconception that to achieve great things you must work as hard as you possibly can and that anything other than extreme dedication to hard work will detract from your success. While focus and input are essential to productivity, giving yourself time to relax and allowing your mind to drift are also vital to the creative process.
What does creativity actually look like? Most often creativity comes from inspiration followed by action. That doesn’t mean that you spend your days idly “waiting for inspiration to strike” the act of repeatedly sitting down to work is essential for success. However, you have to give your mind room to breathe in order to tune into those moments of inspiration. This is where meditation offers a helping hand.
Creativity comes from that connectedness to your inner sense of self, your intuition. Meditation is a practice that encourages and fosters that intuitive connection. When you develop a heightened awareness through meditation, you strengthen your self-belief and inner knowing. With that sense of trust comes the freedom to explore and follow creative thoughts that occur to you. Creativity and spontaneity are intrinsically linked. When you force yourself to come up with an idea it is far less likely to come. Inspiration usually strikes when we are least expecting it, not when we are frowning at a blank screen.
That’s why so many writers take long walks or runs, or why you hear about geniuses coming up with their best ideas in the bath or shower or while doing some mundane activity. Those quiet moments where we are doing and thinking about something else act like a reset of the brain. You can get tunnel vision trying to force your idea into shape, but when you take a break from that, you allow for a fresh approach to occur to you. This exact process can also take place when spending time with those you love, including pets. Jenny Nolan from pet specialists Cleaner Paws has spoken at length at how spending time with animals is an excellent way to become present.
Consider breaking up your workday with regular breaks to freshen and reset your brain and body. Sitting in meditation is a great way to find a few moments of stillness but you could also take it outside and practice a walking mindfulness meditation. Online resource kenshō way explores different ways that you can integrate meditation into your everyday life.
Neuroscientists studying creativity found that the whole brain is involved in the creative process, not just a single brain region or side of the brain. When we meditate we activate all areas of the brain, just like in creative thinking, communication of the entire brain is what’s happening.
It can be hard to let go of the idea that relaxation and downtime are just procrastination, but the value of spending time alone in quiet stillness should not be overlooked. The key is to find that balance where you can optimise your time away from the desk to really benefit you mentally and emotionally.
Regular meditation can provide an incredible boost to your creativity. Studies show people who meditate receive incredible psychological and cognitive benefits. Meditation has been shown to enhance memory, improve learning skills and the ability to sustain attention. These are all so important for creativity. A mind and body working in harmony is far more likely to produce exciting, fresh ideas than one that is overworked and frazzled from effort.