There’s a common misconception in our society that to achieve great things, you must work as hard as you can. There is a belief that hustle and dedication are the key components to achieving great things, and that anything other than that will detract you from success.
While I agree that dedication and input are vital to productivity, giving yourself time to relax, meditate, and even allowing yourself to daydream are just as important. Sadly, by overlooking, the commitment the collective mindset races towards the finish line.
Some people believe that any kind of downtime equates to procrastination. I think that you can optimize that procrastination time to benefit your work, and yourself emotionally and mentally. Use it to feed your mind and boost your creative process through meditation and mindfulness.
Let me explain.
Creative work comes from the action taken upon receiving inspiration. Creative people don’t just hang around, waiting for inspiration to strike. Truly successful people know that the act of sitting down to work day in and day out is essential to getting things done. As William Faulkner famously said, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired every day at 9’o clock.”
Creativity comes from the ability to discipline yourself to do the work. Still, it also comes from giving your mind and your body space to breathe to tap into those moments of inspiration and creative thought. You have to find a balance between intense focus and freedom of thought. Meditation becomes helpful when we take time to be still.
Meditation encourages us to connect to inner stillness, the quiet voice within. I believe that creativity stems from that same internal sense of self—that deep well of knowledge that lies within us all.
With regular meditation practice, you develop an increased awareness of this connection, and you strengthen your self-belief, inner knowing, and trust. With that comes confidence in your voice and faith in your ability to express your truth. You have the drive and self-belief to explore and follow creative ideas that occur to you.
Think about it; your best ideas had probably come to you when you were doing something else, not staring at your computer screen or blank page or canvas trying to form an opinion with sheer will.
Spontaneity and creativity are linked. You are forcing yourself to find an idea or a thought that works are painful. Inspiration comes free when you least expect it.
Most creativity works when you are not focused intently on trying to find the solution to some articulate problem.
Meditation Increases Focus
Studies show that people who meditate receive psychological and cognitive benefits. Meditation enhances your memory, improves learning skills, and your ability to sustain attention.
In our fast-moving world, we are all in dire need of that inner stillness. Actual productivity is the knowledge and ability to use time wisely and get things done effectively.
Many people get overwhelmed by their workload and spend more time and energy worrying about it than getting it done. Meditation increases your ability to focus on one thing at a time, and with repetition, you will rewire your brain to concentrate better naturally.
Meditation Increases Energy
Meditating for a few minutes in the middle of your workday is like taking a long, refreshing drink of spiritual energy. The calming, grounding effect of meditation can boost your energy in a way no caffeine can. It will give you a renewed sense of motivation and passion that you can direct towards your work.
Scientific Facts That Link Creativity and Meditation
An exciting discovery was found by Neuroscientists studying creativity. They saw that the creative process always involves the entire brain, not just a single brain region or specific side, right or left, as is often purported.
Meditation also activates all areas of the brain. When we sit down to meditate, just like when we think creatively, the entire brain is in communication with itself. The two seem inextricably linked.
Regular meditation means practicing that whole-brain communication, that harmonious state that is essential for creative work.
How Can You Apply It to Your Life?
I believe that adding a meditation practice into your daily schedule will increase your creativity and productivity. A coherent mind and body is far more likely to create fresh and new ideas than one that is tired, overworked, and stressed out from all the effort.
Consider taking regular meditation breaks, so that when you think you are procrastinating, you are tuning into your in-depth inner knowledge and sense of self. If you don’t want to meditate, you can still integrate meditation-like activities into your day.
Why not go for a stroll and practice walking meditation? Some people might find taking a bath or shower helpful, or you could involve yourself in some other kind of focused activity like gardening, cleaning, or baking.
Take a creative stroll
We all know a sedentary life is bad for your health, and it turns out exercise is also good for your creative thinking. Only by getting up and going for a walk will improve brain function and boost your creativity. You can even turn a walk into an opportunity to practice mindful observation. Take a mental note of things that catch your eye and make a quick sketch when you get home. Or take photos along the way and create a weekly collage of the things you see. Try taking a “soundwalk,” in which you focus on the sounds around you and where they’re coming from.
Start living a curiosity-driven life. What stimulates your interest? Delve into it; examine and research it. See where your line of thinking takes you. You may discover that you thrive on the process of discovery. The more you know, the more your mind is awakened, and the more you want to learn. This will open your mind to new possibilities others simply cannot see.
Recharge your curiosity
Creativity thrives on curiosity. Our ability to wonder, to dig into something and search for answers, ignites our creativity, and fuels our innovative thoughts. But our thirst for knowledge can dwindle over time. We stop asking and begin accepting. Try sparking your imagination and creativity by asking questions.
Build a creative portfolio that inspires you
Reflect on what inspires you to be your best, creative self — what helps you tap into your innovative thoughts and ideas? Are there specific blogs, books, or videos that shake up your thinking and spur ideas? Are there activities that always seem to relax your mind and help you look at things in an unconventional way, such as journal writing, meditating, or going for a run?
Build a portfolio of things that help you tap into your creative energy and original thinking. If you enjoy drawing, try keeping a sketch pad or doodle book. If you like to write, keep a notepad handy to jot down stray thoughts.
Make time to write every day. If you find inspiration in nature, try collecting small items from your time outside, or take pictures of scenes you come across and find stimulating or exhilarating. Arrange the articles or photos in a notebook or collage. Whatever it is you find fascinating, motivating, and inspiring, use it to help you rewire your brain and boost your creativity daily.
Allow yourself that free time to procrastinate
Even if you simply enjoy staring out of the window, focusing on external sounds or watching the wind blow in the trees. You are giving your mind those precious moments of quiet and calm that will reset your brain. Meditation encourages us to connect to inner stillness, the soft voice within.
I believe that creativity stems from that same inner sense of self—that deep well of knowledge that lies within us all. With regular meditation practice, you develop an increased awareness of this connection, and you strengthen your self-belief, inner knowing, and trust.
Creativity isn’t necessarily a characteristic you’re born with; it’s a trait that can be honed through habit. With the right practice and persistence, you can rewire your brain to make the most of your inherent ability to generate original ideas.
The best way to build your creative mind is through practice. Pick your favorite creative pursuits and do them regularly — daily if you can. The more you flex your creative muscle, the more your mind will naturally innovate.
Start rewiring your brain with positive life-changing habits, and soon you’ll be bursting with innovative and creative ideas.