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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tips for Breaking Out of a Creative Rut - By Larry Mager (Guest Writer)

Photo By: Pixabay

Whether you are a painter, sculptor, writer, or graphic designer, it’s all about inspiration. Unfortunately, it won’t just appear out of thin air. Sometimes you hit a creative block, and it feels like you may never break through. There are ways to get the creative juices flowing, and some are right outside your door.

Change Your Environment

The environment in which you are creating varies from person to person. For some, it could be an art studio or an office. For others, it could the comfy chair by the window in their living room. If you find that you are struggling to come up with new content, try changing up your scenery. When your brain encounters the same stimuli every day, such as sights, sounds, and smells, it can lead to a rut in which you can’t summon up fresh, innovative ideas. Listen to your body and take a break. Visit a museum or art gallery to refocus your concentration, free your mind, and spark creative ideas. Looking at the work of other artists and seeing the risks they are taking could empower you and be the inspiration you need to move forward. Other options for shaking up your environment could be moving outdoors to your patio, paying a visit to the park, or stopping in at your favorite hotspot such as the coffee shop or library.

Perhaps the creative block is creating stress, which leads to a vicious cycle. Take this opportunity get outside and get a little bit of fresh air and take in the sights and smells. Flowers such as lavender and jasmine lower anxiety and boost your mood, while the scent of pine trees lowers stress and promotes relaxation. You might find that certain smells, such as the smell of fresh cut grass, bring back memories from which you can draw inspiration. The fresh air will leave you feeling energized too, with research showing that spending time outdoors increases energy by 90 percent.

Physically Move

Exercising might be the last thing on your mind, but it could clear your mind and help you get rid of that creative block you’ve found yourself in. New neurons are produced in your brain throughout your lifetime, and vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running, triggers the creation of new neurons in the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain associated with learning and memory. The largest benefit you will find from exercising is that it will allow your mind to wander or daydream. According to research, productive daydreaming can help with future planning due to the increased self-reflection, and boost creativity, especially creative incubation. Choosing to disengage can pay off immediately, such as with new insights or ideas. The daydreaming research says, “We mind wander, by choice or accident, because it produces tangible reward when measured against goals and aspirations that are personally meaningful.” For example, losing track or turning down the wrong road on a walk or run is beneficial if it allows you to gain inspiration and garner the creativity you’ve been missing.

Exercising doesn’t mean you have to go on a sweat-inducing run. If you have a dog, consider taking your dog for a walk to get some fresh air, or visit the local park and interact with other dog owners. You never know what kind of inspiration you may be able to draw, and at the least, you’ll have taken a break to reboot your mind. Pets are amazing companions, who can help with many of life’s struggles so you may even find that spending some quality time with your dog reduces stress, as it increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain to make you feel calm and relaxed. In addition, they provide sensory stress relief. Petting your dog or taking a break for a snuggle session lowers your blood pressure, and can help you feel calmer.

Once you’ve hit a creative block, it may feel as if you won’t ever be able to break free. If this happens, take a step back and change up your environment, or spend some time with you four-legged companion to get back on track.

Larry Mager is passionate about the study of how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. He believes in regular exercise of the brain as a means to do just that. Give yours a workout with some fun, brain-stimulating games at

You can contact him through is email at:

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