Get Your Creative Juices Flowing in 8 Easy Steps

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As human beings, we all will experience times of diminished inspiration.  These moments are usually characterized by low energy levels, decreased motivation, lessened creativity and can cause a downward spiral in our general happiness if we are not careful.

The most successful people we know (and I am defining success as the ability to get things accomplished at a high level no matter what life throws at you) share two common attributes when it comes to getting out of a rut:

• They accept “downtimes” as part of the normal cycle of being alive

• They actively search for, and partake in, activities to catapult themselves out of inactivity and boredom

Stressing about lack of inspiration only paralyzes the mind, and inhibits the creative juices from flowing.  Learning how to cultivate a relaxed mind during these moments can be the key to re-igniting the fire of your imagination.  Here are 8 of the most effective activities you can integrate into your life when inspiration eludes you:

1. Scatter Your Reading Material

How many of you get caught up reading the same genre of literature over and over again?  A wonderful way to stimulate new ideas is to read lots of different types of material.  While doing this, look for patterns and see how you can combine ideas to improve upon existing solutions.  Remember, ideas come from other ideas and by reading about a lot of different types of things you can increase your exposure to new concepts. 

2. Meditate

Meditation is the practice of being still and cultivating awareness of the present moment. 

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During times of complete stillness, inspiration often finds a way to strike.  The practice of meditation also helps you cope with tension in the body and anxiety in the mind, two conditions which rarely (if ever) lead to moments of clarity.  So when you are lacking in inspiration, try meditating and quiet the never-ending chatterbox in your head—you might be surprised to find that the motivation you desire was there all along.

3. Call a Good Friend

There is nothing more inspiring than hearing news of an old friend that you have not talked to in some time.  The “catching up” conversation is usually lengthy and gets the mind working in a different manner.  A few nuggets of inspiration will almost surely result from a few hours of healthy conversation with an old friend, so give it a try.

4. Write with Your Hand

Although typing into the computer is great for posterity, writing by hand stimulates ideas. The simple act of using a pen or pencil massages acupuncture points in the hand, which in turn inspires new ideas.  Hand writing in your journal, for example, can do wonders for your creative flow.

5. Go to Bed Earlier

Many eastern medicine practitioners believe that certain times of day coincide with certain brainwave states.  For example, did you know that the mind is in its most creative mode from around 11pm until 2am at night?  In order to benefit from this replenishing creativity we should make a habit of being asleep by 10:30pm.  But how many of us are consistently fast asleep by this time?  Try going to bed earlier for one month, and see if you notice the brain forming more innovative thoughts.

6. Start Integrating a New Kind of Workout Routine

Inspiration often gets blocked from sprouting because our physical bodies fall in a rut.  To “unrut” yourself, it is a great idea to challenge your body with some new physical activity.  Often times, this can be the very thing that brings you back to being your creative self.  Try Yoga, Pilates, or lifting weights if you do not already.

7. Practice Visualization

Visualization is a fantastic practice to regain your inspiration.  For 15 minutes every day, close your eyes and concentrate on imagining your most creative mind at work.  Really feel the feelings associated with your innovative self creating wonderful ideas.  This is hard work at first, but can be a very powerful exercise for getting yourself back on track.

8. Get Off Your Lazy Butt!

Most people sit around, waiting to be inspired.  The truth is, there is a whole world out there filled with innumerable things that can motivate you to be great.  For me, going on a long hike, or even taking a long walk in the deep woods refreshes my soul.  I try and do this whenever I am feeling uninspired.  What is it for you?  Decide, and then go do it! 

When you feel drained of creativity, integrate these 8 steps– You are bound to get the juices flowing again!

Picture above by Muha

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11 Responses to “Get Your Creative Juices Flowing in 8 Easy Steps”

  1. Peter says:

    Funnily enough I tried yoga for the first time yesterday. And not just any type of yoga, it was “power yoga”. Perhaps not the best type for a beginner to start with…. LOL. But I survived, I sweated, I had fun, and the creative juices definitely started flowing!

  2. ZHereford says:

    Excellent article Todd!

    The “get off your lazy butt” really moved me. :)
    Sorry I couldn’t resist! Some great points.

  3. Jason says:

    Just out of curiosity, if the prime creative time is between 11 PM and 2 AM (which seems like it would be odd, since that sort of time is an artificial creation… seems like it would be more of “2 hours after sunset” or whatever), why would I want to go to be at 10:30? Wouldn’t I want to be up between 11 PM and 2 AM, so that all that creativity can be used on something more productive than dreams?

  4. Todd says:

    GOOD question Jason, and I should have clarified. Apparently, those times are when the subconscious mind is at its most creative, without the conflicting language of the conscious mind interfering. So being fast asleep during those hours actually gives the subconscious mind its best opportunity to gather and interpret information. This leads to more fresh and creative ideas during the waking, and thinking hours. Make sense?

  5. To me worrying about doing something “to become great” would be going in the wrong direction. I just wrote a piece on Are You Spending Enough Time Doing Nothing?. I’m much more creative when I have some interesting problems for my mind to play with and don’t worry about results. When you talk about trying to motivate yourself to become great it sounds as if you somehow feel you and your life are inadequate. Whenever I feel that way I focus on living more deeply in the present.

  6. Brad Baggett says:

    I would add a number 9 to the great list:

    9. Notice the small amazing things in Nature!

    I recently wrote an article (the link is below) on how many of us do not take time to enjoy the small things that are right under our noses. I am very similar to you in that I get inspired by a long hike or walk through the woods. I have also started to appreciate Nature and the World’s beauty right at my doorstep too. There are so many amazing and inspiring works of art right around the neighborhood if we just take the time to “see” them.

    http://juiceofchampions.com/home/enjoy-life-and-relax-with-nature

    Great article, you may also need a number 10:

    10. Read “We the Change”

    http://www.JuiceofChampions.com

  7. Todd says:

    Thank you for all the amazing comments…and for adding links to your great articles. Brad, you are right, I should have added walking in nature as #9 :)
    Todd

  8. Ginny says:

    I have tried to meditate, but my mind is soo full of everything that I can only keep it clear for a few seconds. Also, I needed to come up with a good idea for a short novel writing assignment. The ideas come, but without enough information to write a short novel. Any ideas?

  9. Todd says:

    Hi Ginny, meditation is a life long journey…and its all about cultivating the ability to create space between your thoughts…for this is where true creativity and wisdom lies. Those few seconds you experience are evidence of this space…and I hope you continue on and learn how to open that door wider.
    As for other suggestions for your assignment…have you tried free writing? Just write your subject(s) in the middle of a piece of paper, circle it, then just freely let loose around the circle all the ideas that naturally flow through you about the subject.
    You might be surprised how much incredible, creative content flows through you! Good luck!
    Todd

  10. Iswar says:

    Sandy,

    Good read for you. Read and work on the advice.

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