9 habits of highly creative people
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Drink, Sleep, Daydream1 of 10
By Shannan Rouss
Whether you're trying to finish the next great American novel or invent the next blockbuster app, here are nine secrets to help you tap into your own creative genius.
Enjoy the Buzz2 of 10
It may seem like a total poser move to haul your laptop to a cafe and hunker down there for a few hours, but there may be good reason to do so—and it has nothing to do with getting amped up on caffeine. A study published in The Journal of Consumer Research suggests moderate background noise can increase creativity. The ideal volume? About 70 decibels worth of conversations, acoustic music and whirring espresso machinery.
Drink Up3 of 10
While no one's suggesting you get lit to unlock your muse, having a glass of wine or two can help. A 2012 study from the University of Illinois Chicago suggests that creativity gets a boost when you drink in moderation (study participants had a BAC of .07, just under the legal limit). The reason? Drinking decreases focus and makes you less inhibited, which in turn allows your mind to come up with new and possibly inspired ideas.
Distract Yourself4 of 10
The same way that drinking can soften your intense focus and lead to more creative thought, so can distracting yourself with some mundane, mostly passive task—like sharpening pencils or simply staring out the window.
Write It Out5 of 10
Preparing for a big work presentation and at a loss for what to say? Instead of staring at a blank page on your computer screen, jot down ideas the old-fashioned way: with a pen and paper. According to a study from the University of Wisconsin, writing by hand was more stimulating to brain regions involved with thought, language, and short term memory.
Rethink Your Routine6 of 10
If you're a morning person, take advantage of the late night hours; if you're a night person, don't discount the early a.m. In a paper published in the journal Thinking and Reasoning, researchers found that people are better at coming up with creative solutions during their "off" times. Like with drinking and daydreaming, not being totally alert may be the secret to coming up with your most brilliant idea yet.
Embrace Criticism7 of 10
If nobody "gets" your work or your ideas, then you could be in luck. Social rejection may actually fuel creativity, say researchers at Cornell University. As associate professor Jack Goncalo explains, if you can shrug off rejection with an attitude of "normal people don't get me and I am meant for something better," then you may be able to use your outcast status to your advantage. So the next time someone scoffs at an idea you believe in, make it your mission to prove them wrong.
Go Green8 of 10
Looking at the color green is another way to spark your creativity. That doesn't mean you need to repaint your walls to reap the benefits—just a quick glimpse of the hue is all it takes. University of Munich psychologist Stephanie Lichtenfeld, co-author of Fertile Green: Green Facilitates Creative Performance, says that seeing green seems to activate "the type of pure, open (mental) processing required to do well on creativity tasks."
Don't Walk the Line9 of 10
There may be something to those metaphors about creativity ("thinking outside the box" and "putting two and two together," "going your own way"). In a study from the journal Psychological Science, people who acted out a metaphor (by literally sitting outside a five-by-five cardboard box or joining two pieces of a cut-up coaster) performed better on creativity tests compared to those who did not act out the metaphor. In another similar experiment, walking freely (as opposed to walking in a straight line) helped people think more creatively.
Get Minty Fresh10 of 10
Chewing on or taking a whiff of peppermint has been shown to help perk people up, improving concentration and mental agility, otherwise known as the ability to think on your feet and draw conclusions quickly. There are now even peppermint-scented Smart Smencils to keep those creative juices flowing.