Studies show that specific daily habits can support creativity, and that the things you do first thing in the morning may be the most important.
The morning time sets the tone for the rest of the day. So what can you do, first thing in the morning, to encourage creativity?
All forms of meditation, especially in the morning, can help the mind to relax and focus for the rest of the day. Studies show that a specific method called “open-monitoring meditation” is especially helpful for generating creativity. Open-monitoring meditation is like intentional daydreaming; you clear the mind and then openly receive any new thought. This practice improves your capacity to generate new ideas. Start by trying it for ten minutes a day.
Reduce Morning Time Decisions
When you’re wasting energy deciding whether you want white or wheat toast for breakfast, you have less attention for your creative process, especially in the groggy, pre-coffee early morning when your brain is still waking up. Simplify your morning routine by choosing an outfit or making breakfast the night before, and writing out your to do list for the next day. When you wake up, you’ll be able to simply “do” your day, rather than having to plan it or make a number of small decisions. Formulate a routine, then stick to it, day after day. You’ll have more brain power for creativity. Barack Obama famously limits his suits to blue or gray, explaining “I have too many other decisions to make.”
Exercise and Yes, Even Coffee
Morning time exercise increases blood flow to our brains and stimulates endorphins, which makes us feel more alert, capable, and optimistic. But before you go for that jog, you’ll probably want a cup of coffee. Despite some negative health consequences of drinking coffee daily, the caffeine can help you feel more alert, and increases the brain’s production of dopamine, which makes us feel proud when we have a good idea. This feeling of success makes us feel rewarded, and motivated to continue generating new ideas.
Creativity is not only a mindset – it’s a way of moving through your world, as well as through your day.