Finding the “A-Ha” Moment
A Mini-Lesson on Creativity
I know many people who wish they were more creative, especially on demand. When you need a fresh idea, you take a pause and “Poof,” the spark is there. That approach is definitely an overachiever way of pursuing creativity that doesn’t typically work.
A better way to seek a spark of creativity or inspiration is to engage in activities that prompt dopamine and alpha waves in the brain.
Dopamine is known as the feel-good or reward transmitter. When you do something pleasurable or novel, dopamine is released into the body, thereby encouraging more or continuation of that behavior.
Studies have shown that creativity is increased when there are higher levels of dopamine in your brain because it is involved in cognitive flexibility and openness to new experiences—two key ingredients for creativity. Aerobic exercise, listening to music, travel, massage, meditation, and new experiences can all increase dopamine naturally.
Alpha waves occur when your brain is in an “idle” state—daydreaming, relaxing, meditating, exercising, etc. When you are in a relaxed state of mind, the alpha waves create a bridge between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind, thereby letting the mind create new connections between unconnected ideas—creating a spark.
So, when you want to be more creative, take a break from fixating on an idea or a problem. Let the mind simmer and engage in activities that promote dopamine and alpha waves. Avoid the trap of always needing to be productive, i.e. being tied to your desk all day, as it can deter true creativity from occurring.