The relentless pace of modern life can stifle creativity and undermine happiness – mindfulness can help break the cycle.
Many of us are able to recall a time in our lives when we felt more creative than we do now. Where did that spark go? And how can we get it back? Whether you work in the creative industries, a job that demands out-of-the-box thinking or you simply want to retake control of your life and find more time for spontaneity and ideas, mindfulness can help.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that practising certain forms of mindfulness meditation for ten to twenty minutes a day can enhance creativity, problem-solving and decision-making. They also dissolve anxiety, stress and depression, while enhancing happiness, wellbeing and resilience.
A typical ten-minute meditation consists of focusing your attention on the sensations the breath makes as it flows into and out of the body. This creates a calm mental space from which you can observe all of your thoughts, feelings and emotions as they bubble up from your deep subconscious. It allows you to watch as they appear in your mind, linger for a while and then dissolve. In effect, your mind becomes less frantic and ‘noisy’ and this, in turn, means you can notice your quieter thoughts and ideas. So it helps foster greater clarity of thought. In this way, mindfulness smoothes the path of ideas as they arise from the deepest reaches of your mind. This enhances divergent thinking – the purest form of creativity – and the type that most of us would recognise as ‘creativity’ itself.
Divergent thinking is the most mysterious state of mind because it appears to conjure up ideas from nowhere – often out of the blue, and frequently without bidding. It’s the form of awareness that gave rise to Archimedes’ ‘Eureka’ moment, Isaac Newton’s insights into gravity, Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity and many great novels such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In short, it’s the state of awareness that allows you to spontaneously ‘see’ the solution to a problem, to conjure up new ideas and to create a work of art or design with true insight and flair.
Life is chaotic but following the meditation programme in Mindfulness for Creativity will take just ten to twenty minutes a day and will work to sooth your mind and make you less prone to habitual ways of thinking and approaching the world, allowing you the ‘space’ to be more creative in all spheres of your life.