Jumpstart Your Creativity Using 3 Simple Steps
Creative blocks are common. Don’t let them scare you.
By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | September 7, 2022
The topic of creativity carries a lot of lore and mystique. But, like anything else, it can be assessed scientifically.
Here's what the latest empirical research says about how to pull yourself out of a creative slump.
#1. Visit an art museum
One of the most common reasons we develop a creative block is that we get stuck in an uninspiring daily routine. We need a little novelty every now and then to spark new thought patterns and shift our perspective.
Psychologist Katherine Cotter explains that this can be achieved by visiting your local art museum. Exposing yourself to art can push you through periods of creative resistance for the following reasons:
- We experience something called 'the museum effect' when visiting an art museum. When we enter a museum we are able to enter into a state of heightened contemplation that allows us to reflect on ourselves, the communities to which we belong, and society in general.
- Art museums are unique spaces that, for most of us, we don't go to frequently. When we have the chance to visit a museum, it's easy to feel transported and set aside our day-to-day worries and just be present in the experience. We might lose track of time or find ourselves absorbed in a particular work during our visit. This can be a great stress reliever and can help get your creative juices flowing again.
#2. Don't downplay your creative potential
According to psychologist Snehal Hora, we all have the capacity to generate creative output. But, if we believe differently, we may never live up to our potential.
According to her research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, we can flex our creative muscles by:
- Acting assertively
- Challenging conventions
- Taking risks
- Being independent
When we cower and act less boldly than we should (or when we become overly self-critical), we relinquish some of our creative potential.
Psychologists prescribe a strong dose of self-reflection and self-compassion to fight your harsh inner critic. Allowing yourself to make mistakes, trying out things you wouldn't normally do, and working in a healthy team environment can help increase your creative output.
#3. Microdose to bulldoze your creative block
Creativity is not a divinely ordained gift; it is part of human nature and therefore can be practiced by anyone. There are certain states of consciousness, however, that have been shown to boost our creative output and are great for generating original ideas.
These states of consciousness can sometimes be induced through very small doses or 'microdoses' of psychedelics like psilocybin and psychedelic truffles. (But pay close attention to the risk factors associated with these substances as well.) These microdoses stimulate the brain just enough to promote improvements in creativity and divergent thinking while avoiding the effects associated with high doses like memory impairment, disorganized cognition, and executive functioning impairment.
In one study led by neuroscientist Luisa Prochakova, a team of researchers investigated the effects of microdosing psychedelics on creativity and found that microdosing had a powerful impact on the brain's creative centers.
"By reducing the weight of prior beliefs, psychedelics were suggested to abolish pervasive thoughts and biases – inducing more unconstrained, disinhibited cognition that is associated with creativity," says Prochazkova.
Creative blocks are not as insurmountable as you might believe. It is important to give them the power to determine when you can and cannot create. Your creativity will always be a far more powerful force than any creative block life offers you.