Why sit down in front of the keyboard and bleed? With today’s knowledge about how the brain works, there is no need to suffer from writer’s block anymore.
By Robert Gerlach (Scientific findings by Thilo Koch)
Stretching your creative muscle can be naturally easy. According to the IQudo Ideation Survey (San Francisco 2015), the #1 activity for finding ideas is movement, like running, bicycling & walking.
Whenever we look for new ideas to better our creativity training, we go for a meditative walk and always return home with a bucket full of ideas. Actually, we do not call it walking, it’s just another mode of work – a pretty peaceful and nourishing mode by the way 🙂
No matter where you are or and what you are doing, the brain is running anyhow. Your only job is to make sure that it’s running well.
Movement accelerates creative thinking
How exactly does walking or running affect one’s resourcefulness? Robert was curious and mentored the thesis, Physical Exercise, and its Influence on Creative Thinking (Koch 2012) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. In his analysis, Thilo Koch shows that both single-movement units and long-term training programs favor creative thinking. Following 6 scientific findings:
Physical exercise facilitates the formation of new nerve cells, which fosters the plasticity, interconnectedness, and adaptability of the brain.
The increase of the neurotransmitter BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.
Levels of hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine in the brain are elevated.
Higher blood flow increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the brain.
Conscious and unconscious thinking is stimulated.
The cooperation of both hemispheres (analytical and emotional thinking) is increased.
How to Karate chop writer’s block
How often do you jettison your pledge to exercise? And how often do you complain about being stressed on the job? Here is the chance to Karate chop both problems at the same time.
Just go for a walk for at least 30 minutes. It will release stress and markedly spur creative thinking. One study showed that walking increased 81% of participants’ resourcefulness. Creative thinking is even increased when you sit down after the walk. Now, isn’t that a promising reason to move your body?
To score ideas, it’s better to not set goals and rack up the miles. Instead, go for a meditative run. Hormones that foster creative thinking like dopamine and serotonin are also released by low to moderate exercise. The crossing of the finish are inspirations, that pop up on the way!
I’m often asked, “Does yoga open up the free flow of ideas, too?” It depends. The keyword about exercise and creativity is “half-automatic.” If your mind is busy with executing the asanas correctly, you most probably won’t get into the idea-flow. However, if you have the poses down pat, you’ll get inspired on the mat.
If you’d like to know more about how to train your creative muscle, take a look at the book Innovator’s High.