We all want more creativity in our lives.  Whether you’re an artist, writer, musician or crafter.  But leaders also want more creativity, so do scientists and parents. Creativity is not something special reserved only for an elite few.  It’s all around, you just need to be willing and know how to tap into your creativity.

How do you encourage your mind to be creative when being willing to tap into creativity is much easier said than done.  It involves things that many adults don’t remember how to do.  Things like playing, using your imagination, perhaps some daydreaming and most definitely some quiet time/meditation.  There are also a lot of different techniques for creative thinking such as always keeping a notebook for ideas as they come to you.  But before those techniques can really be helpful, you should tune into that creative force that’s already running through you.  Let’s start by looking at Play.

I’m sure many adults think they know how to play because they’re in a softball league or some other competitive sport.  But there’s a difference between the heat of competition and play.  Play should be fun.  It’s the softball game where no one is really keeping score.  It’s the game where everyone is trying to help each other–not beat each other, there’s laughter and everyone is having fun because no one is really losing.

When you’re ready to play, try to do something that’s different from your regular job.  If you’re a writer, then don’t read a book no matter how much you enjoy reading. Instead, try some golf or play some cards,  both involve numbers, something that is outside of what a writer would normally be working on (unless you write Math textbooks!)  Math works your brain in a different manner than words do.   If, on the other hand, you work in numbers all day long then don’t play with numbers. Instead, go fly a kite or try body surfing or playing with your cat or dog.

And don’t forget to play with children.  Children have no problems being creative–whether they’re making up a game, playing with imaginary friends or talking to their stuffed animals, they are being creative all day long.  So take a cue from a child, who isn’t afraid to have fun and play.

Some other ideas for play: take a hike, go to a museum, put on music and dance, go swim in the ocean, or fishing, gardening, or try knitting or crocheting, take a painting or a pottery class, start learning a new language, try baking or cake decorating or cookie baking or candy making.  Do cartwheels in the yard with your children.  Spin around in circles.  Try badminton, horseshoes, hopscotch.  Row a boat, sail a boat, paddle a canoe or kayak.  Skip rocks across the water, climb a tree.  Sit around with your friends telling stories from childhood and laughing.

Play is not only fun, but it also reduces stress and brings joy.  It also helps us to connect with those we may be playing with. When we feel connected, supported and have reduced stress, we are creating a fertile environment for creative ideas to flow.  How do you like to play?

You can read Part 2 of the Creativity Series here