Emotional formula for creativity

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”   – Albert Einstein

I’ve been looking for the secret emotional state which drives creativity. I want to know the proven formula to manifest creativity at will. Surely there is a state of being or some habit which is a precursor for the best creative ideas to flow from? After 5 decades the search for the holy grail continues.

In, The Emotions That Make Us More Creative not just one state of emotions is thought to enable creativity. Instead of assuming creativity will blossom from positive emotional states, maybe a less intuitive approach is key. Emotional ambivalence may be a greater predictor of creativity and innovation. Think of unusual stimuli which taps into a wide range of seemingly contradictory emotions. Will the intensity of emotions be broad or narrow? All of these states can influence heightened creativity, but no one thing is a tried and true key. Novelty and newness play a role too!

With different types of emotions and ideas rolling around, notions of a messy mind come to the fore. 8 paradoxes of creative people question our assumptions around the role that typically measured intelligence plays in creativity. Maybe it is the type of mind which can think differently that is really the best suited to creativity. Goes to show there is far more to life than being good at executive functions and taking tests! We might need to get away from lauding the importance of being normal or sticking to the status quo.

Thinking about things which may be misunderstood, I have always understood the feeling of ambivalence to be the same thing as not caring. I don’t know why I thought this. I should probably spend some time looking up more words for clarification. Creativity at the Crossroads: How Ambivalence Frees Your Mind explains the tension of holding opposing ideas together at once. By doing so, it is possible to recognize unusual conceptual relationships which can fuel creativity.

Taking this idea further, “a study led by Dr. Roger Beaty suggests that people with higher levels of creativity show more connectivity between areas of the brain that aren’t usually strongly linked.” This is explained in The Influence of Emotions on Creativity. Perhaps being open to emotions or more engaged with feelings creates fertile ground for inspiration. We have all experienced the somewhat uncomfortable nature of a new environment where we need to make sense of novel stimuli. In order to reduce the energy being spent on understanding the new, the brain will start to make speedy connections for future reference. These are the times that creative magic can occur.

If a new setting can be taxing on some parts of the brain, seeking novelty can be critical for creative insights. Emotional Creativity: How We Become Better Creative Thinkers, looks at the idea of breaking free from normal routines and locations in order to stimulate creativity. For example travel is a good method to gain fresh perspectives and generate new ideas. But, what does the dose of new surroundings need to be? For many, life is a constant routine of same or similar. Luckily, it is possible to approach a familiar setting with new actions to stimulate creativity.

The holy grail has not been found, but in terms of creativity, I might have discovered useful ideas that are within my control. That is worth a whole lot!

Hope you enjoyed the DailyFinds from this week. Join me to create a life you don’t need a vacation from!

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”    – Linus Pauling

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