Have you been noticing that everyone is always in a hurry and oftentimes too busy to engage? It seems to me that the pace of life is hurrying up faster than I have ever noticed it before. You could say that as we get older time has a way of speeding up, but I feel there is more than just the obvious happening now.
Technology itself is demanding that we stay busy to keep up. Competitive markets that change faster than we can keep up with demand us to stay on the top of the latest breakthroughs that keep us in the game. Social media moves from one topic to the next, while forgetting yesterday’s news as soon as the latest headline gets the latest raves. Marketing has reached new levels of trying to get us trapped in the never-ending stream of information available on the Internet that constantly bombards our mind with overstimulation as we think of the next fashion craze or piece of technology that we have to get.
Being distracted does not add to our mental and social health. In fact, recent research is showing that creativity suffers as we find ourselves constantly busy. It’s important to be able to shift between daydreaming and focus to maintain creative levels in the brain.
Stanford’s Emma Stapällä says:
The idea is to balance linear thinking—which requires intense focus—with creative thinking, which is borne out of idleness. Switching between the two modes seems to be the optimal way to do good, inventive work.
What Can We Do to Engage Our Creative Thinking?
Have you noticed that when faced with the brief moment of not being able to grab your phone or computer that anxiety finds a way in? How hard is it for you to sit for a few minutes during your day to meditate, disconnect, not be near your phone? If it is difficult for you to disengage for brief moments during the day or the weekend, this is a warning sign that you are addicted to being busy. This is a tell-tale sign that you need to desperately do something to find your creative spark again.
Here are a few helpful tips you can start practicing every day:
Get our of your comfort zone: this is so important for many reasons. If we want to grow we must push our limits by getting out of our normal routine. This allows your mind to see new perspectives, people, places, a possibilities. This alone helps open you’re the creative juices in the mind.
Take a walk-without your phone: the key here is to leave your phone at home. Disconnect from technology and connect with nature. As you walk feel you body, breath, connect to the earth. Studies have shown that people who do this score higher on tests that measure creative thinking than people who do not go for walks.
Make some time for fun and games: research by psychologist Barbara Fredrisksen proposes that positive emotions broaden the mind and encourage play, which will promote self discovery, and novel and creative actions. This will in turn, encourage health and wellness.
Allow for some mental downtime during the day: allow yourself to alternate between focused work and less intellectually demanding work during the day. This will give your mind a break and allow creativity to flow.
Schedule an acupuncture or massage session: this will calm your nervous system down, allow you to drop into your body, and let your busy mind go.
Joaquina Cante, L.Ac., Shaman, is a nationally board certified acupuncturist and holistic healthcare practitioner in Boulder, Colorado. Owner of Hummingbird Community Acupuncture, she is a believer in the innate power of each individual to heal and become a better human being.