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Chances are we have all wished to become more creative at some point in our lives. We want to have better ideas at work, or to do something really special for our children at birthdays or holidays. Or we'd just like to feel better about ourselves. So many of us have been told as children that we weren't talented enough to do well in a creative or artistic profession. Creativity and imagination are supposed to vanish as we enter our adult years, replaced with reality, unless they can be turned to "profitable" ends. What a dull existence to look forward to! There is no reason you cannot be a responsible adult and still be a creative, imaginative one. There are many ways to increase capacity for creative thought.One of the most important traits of a creative personality is the ability to play. Get some ordinary play materials -- crayons, clay, Legos -- and experiment. Try one of those Magnetic Poetry sets. Or just get a pencil and paper and experiment with shapes, colors, words of all kinds. Look at things differently. Try turning photographs upside down or sideways. What do the shapes and colors make you think of? Play music backwards. Listen to different types of music, things you've never heard, not just whatever is on the radio.As Julian Lennon said, there is a secret value to daydreaming. Too many people see it as idle woolgathering, a waste of time, even dangerous, promoting fantasy and dissociation from reality. Never mind that kind of limited thinking. Some of the world's greatest inventions were the result of daydreams.
Daydreaming is one way the mind has of engaging in associational thinking. It lets us make connections between concepts, events and people in the past and present. Even if you never come up with a million-dollar invention, daydreams are important to good mental health.Allow imaginative thoughts, daydreams and ideas to come to you anywhere. Place a notebook in each room to jot down your thoughts.Get a journal and start writing in it. It doesn't have to be a record of what you did today. What is more important is how you feel, and whatever comes into your head It doesn't have to be coherent. Another way to encourage associational thinking is to create cluster webs of words. Start with a word you like -- anything that comes to mind. Write it in the center of a big piece of paper. Then, drawing arrows out from that word, write the words or concepts it makes you think of, then what those words make you think of, and so on. Some research indicates that most creative people can visualize mental images. If you have trouble doing this, you can practice. The New Age claims that if you can see something in your mind's eye, you will magically receive it. This is not really true. Thoughts are not things. But being able to see something in exact detail might help you design or build it or describe it to someone else. Some psychologists think that the color blue inspires creativity. Although the study on this subject is only preliminary and will need further tests to back it up, you might try putting a little more blue in your life.Most of all, open your mind to the possibility of creative thought. Give yourself permission to think creatively. The more you attempt it, the easier it will be.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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