​Berkeley University’s Greater Good Science Centre (notably Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D. with Carolyn Gregoire from Huffington Post)  have shared a ​summary from their book “Wired to create: unravelling the mysteries of the creative mind”.

We can gain insights from them as they explore how to develop creativity as a habit and a style of engaging with the world.  They note that neuroscience has found that creativity is not just a ‘right brain’ task as previous thought but is  “a complex process consisting of many interacting cognitive systems (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions, with different brain regions recruited to handle each task and to work together as a team to get the job done”.

They note that creative people are particularly good at exercising flexibility in activating and deactivating the networks of executive functioning and  imagination  in a complex dance  – ie juggling openness and sensitivity, solitude and collaboration, intuition and reason. In doing so they can open up to a deeper level of self understanding  and self expression.

Kaufman and Gregoire recommend some habits to foster more creativity in your /your child’s life:

1. Imaginative play – children do this naturally where play can take on different perspectives and manipulate emotions and ideas playfully.  Adults can too, and research shows playfulness can create  a synergy that leads to grreater inspiration, effort and creative growth.

2. Passion – can be the emotional fuel that starts one down a creative path.  However, this excitement  needs to be balanced with realistic strategies for getting closer to goals: inspiration with hard work​

3. Daydreaming – the latest science on daydreaming  has shown that tmind wandering offers rewards such as slef-awareness, future planning and reflection, even compassion.  Taking a 5 minute break every hour (when you are working on a project that requires intense focus) engaging in a simple activity that will allow your mind to wander, is suggested to lead to improvements in creative thinking.

4. Solitude – time for solitary reflection (finding meaning)  truly feeds the creative mind, employing a different brain network than outwardly focussed attention.

5. Intuition  – Cognitive scientists have recognised the dual-process theory of human cognition – the” fast and slow brain” theory.  Intuition (the fast brain system) has the greatest role in generating new idease and the slow brain plays a role in exploring the application of the ideas.  Both are important!

6. Openness to experience – the desire to learn and discover has more bearing on creativity than intellect alone.To boost creativity, seek out new experiences, try a different way to work.  These can increase your capacity to recognise new patterns and find links.​

7. Mindfulness (particularly open-monitoring meditation)  – having the capacity to observe the present moment without distraction or judgement  has been shown in research to have benefits such as inproved task concentration, sustained attention, emapthy and compassion, introspection, self-regulation, enhanced memory and improved learning and postivite affect and motional wellbeing – most of these are central to creativity.  Also recommended is a balance of mindfulness and mind wandering.

8. Sensitivity – having a heightened sensitivity to your surroundings and of sensory input – can lead to greater intensity of experience and emotional overwhelm.  THose who lwarn to dial down the relentless swooping and crresting of emotion are able to transform raw perception into keen perceptiveness.  Harnessing your sensitivity into artistic expression rather than trying to harden yourself is recommended

9. Turning adversity to advantage – often through suffering we can learn compassion, and from overcoming struggles we come to discover own own strength and beauty.  These adverse events can be powerful and have creative potential in  forcing us to reexamine our beliefs and life.

 It is suggested that you try creative outlets – writing and art, and for a creative boost, treating all of life’s meaningful moments – good and bad – as potential sources of inspiration and motivation.  Doing so can lessen stress related issues and boost working memory.

10. Think differently – creative people are untied by their unwillingness to abide by conventional ways of thinking and doing things.  This risk opens up the possibility of true innovation.  Studies foudn that the more ideas people generate, the greater the chances they will produce a positive result /masterpeice – there will be more mistakes too.  So, in trying to do things differently – expect the good and bad results and don’t let caution get in the way of creativity.

The bottom line is that ​these studies can’t guarantee creative genius but they note that ‘when the artist is alive in any person, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring , self expressive creature.”  They note that “if we learn to embrace our own messy, creative selves, we give others permission to do the same.  We help create a world that is more welcoming of the creative spirit, and we make it possible to find a greater connection with others and with ourselves in the process” 

I love this work – these ideas can be put in place at home and in therapy!!

Full text at :http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/ten_habits_of_highly_creative_people