The little known and incredibly easy way to boost your creativity
9 November 2013
Gimme the Gamma Mama
Even though the TV series, ‘Mad Men’ was about the world of advertising, it does explain why we get some of our best ideas whilst walking to the toilet, doing the washing up or getting into the car.
The lightbulb moment is really an unforced revelation of the sub-conscious.
Whether you call this being creative or resourceful, we all need to know how to solve problems and get ideas.
So, how do we encourage this ‘unforced revelation’ that:
- leads to a bright idea,
- helps our businesses to pivot or develop
- and untwists some problem that’s been blighting us for ages?
Want 6 more ways to get ideas quickly (even when you’re feeling TOTALLY uninspired)
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Get your Gamma going
Picture yourself listening intensely to a lecture or deeply immersed in a complex project. You’re focused intently on the activity in hand. That’s when your Gamma brain waves are firing off: this is the conscious working to solve a problem.
Have you noticed that when you get stuck on problem, it’s the moment that you walk to the loo or go to the kitchen to put the kettle on that you have a ‘light bulb’ moment?
That’s because you’ve stimulated the Alpha brain waves, the energy level that happens when you feel relaxed and open.
Alpha brain waves bridge the conscious mind with the unconscious mind, and these waves are particularly active when you’re calm and relaxed. When these waves are stimulated, they spike, firing off new pathways in the brain. These connections allow for creative problem solving.
That’s why when you play, feel relaxed, or are doing something other than working on ‘the problem’, you get your best idea.
The very act of switching ‘off’, has actually allowed other parts of the brain to switch ‘on’, meaning that after working on a problem consciously, you need to relax and allow the sub-conscious to do the rest without effort. That’s when you’ll have better quality ideas and be more resourceful. It’s also why play is an essential part of problem-solving. Work on the problem, then let it go.
The value of walking
Research from Stanford demonstrates that walking can increase creative thinking and problem solving skills. The good news those of you who live in a concrete jungle is that this research showed that those skills boost, regardless of the environment. This means that walking for 20 minutes on a treadmill will have as much benefit was walking in the forest.
Get your body moving!
The bottom line is, to get back into your head, you need to switch on your body. After some deep thought and gamma action, interrupt yourself.
Whether it’s meandering into the kitchen to switch the kettle on, or doing 20 star jumps, you’ll stimulate those alpha waves
Do as Draper says:
1) immerse yourself in the problem;
2) relax/go for a walk/make a drink;
3) The idea will suddenly creep into your head. No need to reach out for it.
What specific ways help you to trigger ideas? Let me know in the comments below…