Today we’re talking about 5 health habits that aren’t directly related to creativity, but actually play a big role in it
Due to the Corona Virus limitation and still being quarantined after 6 months, I had to think about ways I could enhance my creativity without talking about experiences as I did in this post, and more about habits. I did a bit of studying on how to enhance my creativity while locked at home, and found out FIVE habits that can enhance your creativity without actually doing anything creative.
As these are all habits, they depend entirely on you constantly applying them to make them work, so I’m counting on that! My recommendation, though, to you is to not apply them all at once.
Pick one and, if you like challenges, do a 30-day challenge to make sure you create a new habit out of it. Simply by accepting one of these challenges, you’re already giving a step forward to improving your health, which will improve your creativity.
Here’s what we’ll talk about today:
- Your Diet & Creativity
- Exercise & Creativity
- Messiness & Creativity
- Meditation & Creativity
- Discomfort & Creativity
So, which one will you try first? Let’s dive right into them!
Your Diet & Creativity
What you eat affects directly how your brain can process information and, consequently, your ability to be more creative.
We all enjoy eating junk food once in a while, but eating healthy is a big part of your cognitive process and, therefore, your ability to acquire knowledge and understanding.
“Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science who has spent years studying the effects of food on the brain.
“Diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function. This raises the exciting possibility that changes in diet are a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage and counteracting the effects of aging.“
Getting technical about it, eating fruits and vegetables can increase the blood flow in our brain, giving power especially to the areas related to memory, sharp thinking, deep thinking and creative operations. To give you some examples, nuts, fruits, vegetables, omega-3 rich fish like salmon are all food that can help you superpower your creativity.
“Leo, but I love my hamburger on Fridays”. So do I, and I eat it every week at least once. You don’t have to quit junk food and go 100% healthy, but if you could make each week 1% healthier then the previous, which is literally less than changing a daily snack, you’ll be 67% healthier in one year. Not only will you feel physically better, but it will boost your creativity as well.
30-Day Challenge #1: Improve your diet for 30 days and check your results. For example, cut unnecessary snacks, try intermittent fasting, zero sugar for 30 days, or zero junk food for 30 days. My option of choice is intermittent fasting, which I highly recommend, which you can read more about it here.
Exercise & Creativity
Have you ever wondered how some athletes make quick decisions that if they haven’t thought about it in the blink of an eye they could have died or been severely injured? This is what scientists call creative flow thinking, and it’s one of the most creative states we can ever be.
Exercising stimulates our brain to release dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which are 3 of the 5 necessary neurochemicals for us to be in a creative state of flow. Don’t know what a creative flow state is? Watch the video below:
When in a creative flow, our creativity, commitment and embodiment to our work increase greatly, which is why it’s one of the most desirable states for a creator. Have you ever sat down, worked for 4 hours straight and forgot about time, worries and sometimes even to drink water? That’s a flow state of mind.
30-day challenge #2: If you don’t exercise constantly, start with a 30-min walk around your neighbourhood, at least three times per week. If you want to be more intense, do at least 30 min of exercise every day, which is my ongoing 30-day challenge. Look at my progress below:
For the past 204 days, I’ve been exercising at least 3 days per week, but now I’ve decided to exercise every day for 30 days, starting on Sep 22nd, 2020.
Additional Tip: If you have to be 100% productive at all times, answer your friends and fellow creators while doing this, or listen to an audiobook. Not only will this be good for your mind to take small breaks, but it will also be great for your creativity and body to do this
Messiness & Creativity
“While cleaning up certainly has its benefits, clean spaces might be too conventional to let inspiration flow.” says Kathleen Vohs, a researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
Einstein is one of the world’s geniuses, and his desk was a mess. If we bring it to a recent time, Steve Jobs, the true mind behind Apple, had a really messy desk, and so does Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook.
The creativity and mess link comes from your ability to do more associations in a room with more elements out of order. As creativity itself is ordering things that were loose and out of order, a messy room can create a more relatable environment for creativity to shine.
At the same time, the opposite is true. While a messy room creates an environment suitable for creativity, it also could decrease your ability to focus since there are many possible distraction points. Therefore, understanding which is the perfect environment to you will greatly depend on your task at hand.
Challenge #3: try creating your next track with a messy environment and see how that affects your creation It could work and make your tracks a bit more creative, but it could also distract you, so test it, and if it works, keep it!
Meditation & Creativity
Creativity and Meditation go hand in hand. Some meditation techniques even involve creative thinking and daydreaming, which enhances your ability to think more outside the box. But why?
Meditation greatly enhances your ability to observe, feel, focus and accept thoughts the way they come. Here is a list of how meditation can help your creativity:
- Your ability to accept a situation is a crucial trait for a growth mindset. Not only this, but self-acceptance is one of the pillars of self-esteem, which is crucial for your self-confidence.
- Your ability to focus is essential for you to be able to achieve a flow state of mind, as said above, which is a huge booster for your creativity.
- Your ability to observe greatly enhances your ability to experience the world, especially on how you perceive things that you wouldn’t if it wasn’t for a heightened sense of observation.
I remember when I was meditating daily that one part of meditation was being able to accept that you’re having a bad thought and moving past it, not forcing it to go away (which would actually make it stay). The same applies to rejection, being creatively stuck and many other scenarios you’ll face as a musician and how to deal with that, because, believe me, you’ll have to deal with these as a creator.
30-Day Challenge #4: Meditate for 5 minutes or more, every day. You can use guided meditations on YouTube, or apps like Headspace or Insight Timer to help you through this. I remember talking about this 30-day challenge and how, during it, I created my track “Dust” out of nowhere.
Discomfort & Creativity
It’s not comfortable to think outside the box. Why would you do something different from what you’ve done before if it’s still working, right? And the reason is that discomfort and novelty make you feel alive, and more creative.
Discomfort sends a message to our brain that something is wrong and needs to change. If something needs to change, that’s because it’s no longer working the way it is. You can use this feeling in two ways:
- By constantly putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation, you’re callusing your mind and building mental toughness, as navy seal David Goggins would say in his book Can’t Hurt Me. This way, when an uncomfortable situation really comes, you’re so used to being uncomfortable that you won’t flinch at it.
- By putting yourself into new uncomfortable situations, you’re collecting experiences, which will later be the fuel to new associations in your brain.
In other words, when a new creative situation comes, not only have you already collected a bunch of data by putting yourself into new experiences, but you won’t also won’t feel frightened to fight the battle. This way, you will be able to persevere longer, a trait as important as creativity itself for a creator.
The task now to you is to turn discomfort into a habit, and constantly be in a state of comfortable discomfort. A place where you constantly feel challenged, but also safe to avoid being frightened.
This can make creative tasks less daunting and less intimidating, a trait essential for us to avoid creative blocks since it will just be another one of the many challenges you’ll have to overcome as a musician.
30-Day Challenge #5: Do any of the challenges above and you’ll be putting yourself into a discomfortable situation. In addition to these, here are some other 30-day challenges that I could recommend you to do:
- Cold Showers;
- Develop a conversation with/be kind to a new stranger each day;
- Journaling in a new way each day (you’ll have to use a different writing style every day);
- 30 to 90 pushups daily (Start at 30, increase 2 daily);
- 2m30s nonstop planks every day.
And some other music related 30-day challenges
- Write one new melody every day (Just write, don’t need to develop);
- One new song every 30 days;
- Mix two songs every 30 days, yours or some one elses;
- Create one new preset every day.
Now it’s your turn
I’ve listed 5 habits you can change in your life that can have a big impact on your health and, consequently, on your creativity!
Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:
Which habit or 30-day challenge from this list are you going to implement first?
Let me know in the comments sections below!