I bet you do. We all want to be happy, but are we missing out on a meaningful way to unlock our happiness?
There is a lot to say about creativity.
You are probably aware that Creative Thinking is an essential skill in today's world, no matter your industry. It can help you discover innovative solutions to problems, develop unique ideas, and produce more meaningful experiences.
While Creative Thinking is usually mentioned in the context of business success, there is another side to it that can transform your life for the better.
Did you know that developing your Creative Thinking opens the door to happiness and mental well-being?
It turns out that Creative Thinking has a huge impact on our happiness and well-being.
And since I want you to be happy, I will take you on a journey of creativity and health.
So, let's start with the beginning.
What is creative Thinking?
Creative Thinking is the process of generating new and innovative ideas by breaking free from conventional and routine thought patterns. It involves using imagination, experimentation, and intuition to develop original solutions to problems or develop fresh and novel ideas.
Creative Thinking is characterised by breaking free from the status quo, seeing problems from multiple perspectives, and challenging assumptions. It involves being curious, open-minded and willing to take risks and try new things.
Creative Thinking enhances your happiness and well being
A growing body of research suggests a positive connection between Creative Thinking and happiness and well-being. Here are a few ways in which creative activities improve your mental health-
Flow. Do you sometimes wish to leave the world behind, get the so-needed break from all the worries and bad news, and enjoy being in the moment? The phenomenon of becoming fully immersed in an activity that you lose track of time and forget about everything else is called a state of flow. Engaging in creative activities can lead you to a state of flow, which can be profoundly satisfying and enjoyable. Apart from enjoying the action itself, when you are in a state of flow, you forget about all the problems and complexities of the external world. It is priceless as it reduces stress and increases your happiness and well-being.
2. Self-expression. Creative Thinking enables you to express yourself in new and innovative ways. It allows you to connect with yourself and be true to who you are in an empowering way. Self-expression contributes to greater self-awareness, increased confidence in your capabilities, and overall emotional well-being.
3. Senseof accomplishment. Engaging in creative activities can lead to a sense of accomplishment and achievement, which boost self-esteem and happiness. Think about how proud and happy children are when they share their creations with others. The same goes for adults. We take pride in what we create.
4. Stressreduction. Immersing yourself in creative activities can help to reduce stress and anxiety as often you are more relaxed and at ease when you create. (and we all benefit from reducing the level of stress in our lives)
In conclusion, Creative Thinking contributes to greater happiness and well-being by providing opportunities for self-expression, engagement, positive emotions, and stress reduction. Therefore, creativity is an essential part of a healthy and fulfilling life.
6 strategies for fostering Creative Thinking
But how should you go about developing this skill?
Some ways to cultivate your Creative Thinking involve a shift in mindset and the development of a few new habits.
I have created a list of 6 simple strategies you can adopt right now to foster Creative Thinking. These strategies will open your mind to new ways of thinking and help you overcome one of the biggest obstacles to creativity – the fear of failure.
1. Use open-ended questions. Open-ended questions encourage Creative Thinking by allowing people to explore solutions and ideas they haven't considered before. This is because open-ended questions leave a lot of room to explore; they don't send you in a particular direction or limit your thinking. If you want to open your mind, explore and create, pay attention to how you word your questions. (the questions you ask yourself and others)
2. Create an environment of collaboration. Creative Thinking thrives on diverse thinking. We find more creative and innovative ideas when we work together and share ideas. Embrace collaboration and create a safe place for people to be open and honest with each other. When you think of new ideas or others are coming up with new ideas, don't judge or assess these ideas. Listen to them and see what possibilities they open up. (there is no silly idea)
3. Embrace failure. Failure is an integral part of Creative Thinking, enabling you to try new things and learn from these explorations. So take calculated risks and be open to new ideas, even if they don't work out. Failure is not an obstacle on your way to success; failure is your stepping stone to success. The only way to reach success is by failing first.
4. Celebrate Creative Thinking. Make sure to recognise and celebrate your own Creative Thinking. Be proud that you follow the process of Creative Thinking, and celebrate your ability to generate many ideas, especially crazy ones. (again, there is no silly idea)
5. Adopt divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the process of exploring and generating multiple solutions to a problem. Come up with many creative solutions, and don't settle on the first idea that comes to mind. The more ideas you have, the more chances you have to find an innovative idea. (If you think you have exhausted all the ideas you can come up with, take a break and come back to generating ideas when energised and refreshed. See next point.)
6. Take breaks. Taking breaks helps you step back and refresh your thinking, so take regular breaks and return to the problem with a fresh perspective. When you take a break, your subconscious mind often works on the problem in the background, make new connections and then new ideas will bubble up in your head when you least expect it. It will feel like magic.
3 fun activities that develop Creative Thinking and cultivate well-being
Now it is time to put the above strategies into practice and exercise your Creative Thinking in a fun way. You can easily add these activities to your busy life and do them as you go about your daily activities. Apart from helping you become more creative, these activities will promote your happiness and well-being.
1. Flipit. This is about flipping your thinking, a process, or a concept. The idea here is to break your thinking patterns by coming up with opposite ways. (We often do things without questioning how we think or do something at the moment.)
How do you go about it?
For example – the concept of going to a doctor. Why and when do we go to see a doctor? The idea is that we see a doctor when we are sick and want to get better. What is the opposite concept? How can we think about it differently? What if… we see a doctor when we feel well to ensure we won't get sick? (Which means preventative health care)
Or – the way we use backpacks. Children carry their bags on their backs when they go to school. What is the opposite way to use this object? What if…. the backpack takes the kid to school?
When you go about your day, think about the concept behind what you do and flip these concepts. Think – what if…? The more you do this exercise, the more flexible your thinking will become.
2. Come up with crazy inventions. The idea behind this exercise is to remove boundaries from your thinking. You must remove your internal judgement that prevents you from generating radical ideas. The ideas that are different from the norm.
How do you go about it?
For example – let's say you are frustrated by how socks magically disappear when you do your laundry, and you end up with just one sock without its pair. (Seriously, what’s the deal? I think there is a magical hidden door inside washing machines that little elves use to take a few socks they like, simply because they enjoy seeing our reaction) What can you invent to prevent it from happening? Try to come up with crazy ideas. Don't judge your thoughts; simply produce as many ideas as possible. When you go about your day, whenever something annoys or frustrates you, think about crazy inventions that can solve it.
3. Become Sherlock Holmes. (How exciting is that??) You will investigate an object, an animal or anything else by producing many questions about it. This exercise aims to help you look at things from different perspectives and question the status quo. It will help you develop your curiosity and step out of running on autopilot. You will become more observant and notice the little things that are easy to ignore. Developing this way of thinking will also enable you to break your thinking patterns and produce more ideas.
How do you go about it?
For example- have you ever stopped during dinner to think about the fork you hold in your hands? Look at your fork and start coming up with as many questions as possible (You can take on a challenge to produce at least 20 questions) - When was the fork invented? Why was it designed with this number of tines? What if there were fewer tines? What if there were more tines? How did people eat before the invention of the fork? Once you finish coming up with many questions, decide which ones you want to explore further.
In conclusion, Creative Thinking is a powerful force for self-growth and enrichment. Developing the habit of Creative Thinking can open up new possibilities for success and happiness, create meaningful relationships, and propel you forward in life. When used effectively, Creative Thinking can help you achieve true clarity, open up hidden potentials, and bring more joy into all areas of your life.
Want fun activities to develop this incredible skill?
Whether you are a teacher or a parent (as a parent, you are your child's greatest teacher!), you can now purchase a pack of ready-made fun, short 33 activities to cultivate your and your children/students' happiness, well-being, curiosity and creativity.
Check the pack for 9-12 years old (grades 3-6) here.
Check the pack for 13-15 years old (grades 7-9) here.
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