Sometimes you just feel stuck. But you can learn how to invite creative inspiration into your life. If you’re banging your head against the wall trying to come up with answers, let yourself off the hook! Whether you’re trying to make an important decision or come up with the fix to a problem, force is not going to get you there. There’s a much easier and far more enjoyable way to get inspired. Here are some easy tips to try on how to be creative.
Your Lizard Brain Kills Creativity
Why does it seem like when the stakes are higher it’s more difficult to know what to do? The answer lies within the brain. When you experience stress, your body prepares for fight, flight or freeze. All of your brain’s energy is focused on keeping you alert, and out of harm’s way.
When this instinct kicks in, it doesn’t care what caused your stress alarm to go off. Maybe you missed a deadline, maybe you’re being chased by a lion. Either way, any departments not critical to keeping you alive (like your creative center) promptly lock their doors and hang up their ‘closed’ signs. In short, your angst about being stuck is what’s keeping you stuck.
Practice Self Care
“Go play!” Quite possibly the most sage advice any parent has ever offered. Self care is an essential part of your creative process. Our society endorses the concept that you don’t deserve leisure time unless you’ve earned it. Personally, I can’t think of anything to throw your mind-body-spirit out of whack faster than forcing yourself to work on something when you’re not in the mood.
Give yourself permission to step away from the topic for a little while when you’re not feeling creative. You really can relax your way toward productivity! It may sound counter-intuitive but when you disengage that lizard brain with rest and relaxation, you will get unstuck.
Invent a relaxation ritual for yourself that you can do whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. What helps you to reboot and refresh? Playing with your dog? A hot bath? Your favorite book?
If you have a relaxation ritual up your sleeve whenever you find yourself stuck, you’ll actually begin to associate an enjoyable experience that goes along with your creative block. Imagine saying, “I have no idea how to handle this situation. I guess I’ll have to lock my door, turn off my phone and spend an hour in the tub sipping tea”. Boohoo!
You’ll begin to perceive getting stuck as an opportunity to pamper yourself instead of a reason to punish yourself. You’ll be amazed to see that inspiration strikes as a happy byproduct of compassionate self-care. If you need to enlist some outside help, check out this list of the 15 best TED Talks for sparking creativity.