6 Proven Ways To Conquer Your Creative Block

Everyone struggles with creative blocks, not just writers and artists. Regardless of your industry, or whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, sometimes those creative juices need squeezing before they start to flow.

Maybe your inspiration from the day before has run dry, or the deadline you thought was miles away is right around the corner, and the stress is preventing anything else from entering your brain.

Whatever the reason, there are plenty of evidence-backed methods to get to the other side of your creative block. Take a look at the tips below and get to creating.

Go Outside And Stretch Your Legs

Since whatever you’re working on most likely requires you to sit still indoors, a surefire way to free up some mental space is to take a stroll outside. Whatever your surroundings, a busy city or lush woods, try to let them guide you away from distracting work thoughts.

Don’t look at your phone or put on a podcast, just let your mind clear as you put one foot in front of the other. Some light exercise while breathing in fresh air can do wonders for your creativity, and leave you feeling refreshed when you sit back down to work.

Write Down All Your “Bad” Ideas

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head that just won’t come out until you listen to it? The same applies to all of the different ideas swirling around your brain when you’re thinking of how to approach a new project. You might think an idea doesn’t work and discount it before you’ve given yourself the opportunity to explore it.

Writing down those “bad” ideas can be an eye-opening experience. Maybe you will decide to scrap the idea after all, but you could also end up seeing it in a different light and following through to success.

Do Something (Else) Creative

Creativity begets creativity, which means that any type of creating can bring you back into the zone for your current endeavor. If you’re stuck on a particularly tricky paragraph, put on some music or strum a few chords on the guitar. If you’re looking for a new angle to a presentation, doodle the first 5 images that come to mind in your notebook.

You’ll be surprised what can come from seemingly unrelated practices of creativity. An extra tip – if you don’t have it in you to create something yourself, looking at the work of other artists can work just as well in a pinch.

Pretend To Be Someone Else

Are you used to being a certain type of thinker? Teams working collaboratively on a project often consist of all kinds of personalities: dreamers, realists, creatives, sticklers, and so on. Sometimes falling into a familiar role can limit your creativity, so a good exercise can be approaching your task from someone else’s perspective.

Ask yourself, what wouldn’t I do? Think of what your first step would ordinarily be and then do the opposite. For instance, if you’re the organized type who needs to list out all of your options ahead of time, try going with your gut and the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t worry, with brainstorming there are no wrong answers!

Quiet Your Mind

When you’re feeling blocked creatively, it can be tempting to start clicking and fall into a hole of internet research, opening tabs leading from one thing to another. But often, overloading your mind is the opposite of what you need to unblock your inspiration.

Try instead to close the laptop, turn off the phone, and sit quietly with your thoughts. Just ten minutes of meditation makes a lasting impact and might just be the key to unlocking some hidden creativity. Even if it doesn’t solve your creative block, it’s proven to boost your mood and reduce stress.

Sleep On It

Sometimes no matter what you do, you’re going to stay stuck. That’s when the best thing to do is walk away and rest. Give yourself a break, leave the mental strain behind and start fresh the next day. Everyone can benefit from getting a better night’s sleep; it’s shown to increase mental health, strengthen your immunity, and generally improve your mood.

In terms of a creative block, focusing on something intently and then stepping away allows your subconscious to take over and do some work on your behalf. When you wake up, the answer may just have found you.

7 Surefire Ways To Increase Your Happiness

Ask ten people what their definition of happiness is, and you’ll get ten different answers. A person’s version of happiness depends on their values, priorities, and goals. While the choices and activities that bring you happiness may differ from someone else’s, it’s generally agreed upon that happiness involves a better mood, less stress, and a feeling of personal enrichment.

It’s important to know that happiness is usually the result of another action, whether you’re aware of it or not, and it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. The good news is that there are scientifically proven ways to increase your happiness, at least to some extent. Some are great for a short term boost, while others work towards the greater lifelong journey of personal fulfillment.

Sleep Better

Given that happiness can be elusive, it’s no surprise that the equally elusive good night’s sleep can factor largely in your happiness. Studies have found that getting just one extra hour of restful and uninterrupted sleep a night can make you as happy as getting a huge salary raise. Many of us find it difficult to prioritize sleep, and that is usually due to a desire to be productive at all times. Divorcing yourself from this notion will not only help with sleep, but with overall self care and mindfulness that can also lead to greater happiness.

Reach Out To Your People

We’re all feeling the effects of isolation from our loved ones after the last year. Feeling connected to people around us is a huge contributor to happiness. Even if you aren’t a social butterfly, having a few select close friends or family members to share your life with can make a big difference. Research has shown that happiness is often a collective phenomenon, meant to be experienced with others.

Break A Sweat

You’ve probably gotten (and maybe rolled your eyes at) the advice that physical exercise can do wonders for your mental well being. While many people aren’t necessarily eager to get to the gym, the benefits of getting some form of exercise consistently are undeniable. Exercise gives us better sleep, reduced stress, and those endorphins that really give us a boost of happiness. If the thought of lifting weights is enough to put you off, try going for a quick walk outside, or trying a new sport that interests you.

Fake It Til You Make It

Positive thinking is a tricky phenomenon. Studies have shown that smiling and laughing can activate your happiness, even if you don’t feel like doing either. But fake smiles or laughs, like the ones sometimes asked of customer service workers, don’t work the same way. In order to get the benefits of smiling or laughing, you have to think of something that makes you happy. This could be an abstract concept, or actual memories of good times. In effect, the feedback loop of thinking happy thoughts can lead to overall greater happiness.

Help Someone Else

Personal fulfillment often comes at recognizing a greater cause than oneself. Rather than pursuing your own happiness, look for ways you can bring happiness to others and yours might just follow. Think of something you can offer to others, whether a special skill, your mentor-ship, or simply your time, and find an organization that needs help. Volunteering to help those in need has been shown by researchers to be one of the most reliable ways to increase well-being.

Live In The Moment

In this day and age, being mindful and living in the moment may seem like antiquated concepts, thanks to our constant ability to tune out and find entertainment on any number of screens. But studies show that meditation is a great tool for a greater awareness of and connection to your surroundings. Happiness isn’t about one single activity, but rather being happy in many situations. Remember that mindfulness meditation is a gradual process that requires practice, so try it out for a short period of time every day and see where it takes you.

Make A Plan

So often when we try to completely overhaul our routines, for instance eating healthier or exercising more, we bite off more than we can chew and give up before we really get started. Making manageable and achievable goals and planning your execution has been shown to lead to significantly greater happiness and personal satisfaction. Whether it’s unplugging from your phone for 30 minutes before bed or exercising every day for a week, never underestimate the power of checking something off of a list.