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10 Ways to Promote Creativity

How could creativity and messes benefit individuals?

Adult responsibilities aren't always fun--there's work, bills, relationships, health and wellness concerns, and long-term concerns as well. The work week sometimes feels like it'll never end, while the weekend never seems to be long enough. In between these hours, a person is expected to keep a home clean and organized. The expectations to balance countless responsibilities can get overwhelming fast. Sometimes it can feel chaotic when the house is messy and there's just too many loads of laundry to wash, dirty dishes to clean, and mouths to feed. The pressures to do everything perfectly can add lots of stress to a person's life. What if this stressed person decided to clean less often?

According to Vohs (2013) messes may help stimulate creativity: idea generation and progressive thoughts or behaviors. Think of how it feels to clean one's living space--it can get frustrating to keep things tidy all the time, especially if there are children or pets involved. Perhaps being okay with messes could start with cleaning or organizing less often, reducing a feeling of obligation or stress. Maybe it could be picking and choosing which areas of the home can be more messy than others. This messy area could be a place to brainstorm or think of divergent ways to solve problems in life. 

10 Ways to Promote Creativity:

  1. Be open to possibility:Some people may have limited adjectives to describe themselves. If you've spent your life being this set list, be open to expanding and adding more words. We are human beings in a process of becoming. Some words to consider: empathic, flexible, joyful, courageous, innovative, loyal, beautiful, accepting, creative, inspiring, spontaneous, thankful, charming, accepting, leader, committed, forgiving, encouraging, gentle, enthusiastic, patient, imaginative, resilient, persevering, introspective, peaceful, disciplined, artistic, wise, thoughtful, heroic, phenomenal.
  2. Surround yourself with different people: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." --Jim Rohn. Try seeking people with qualities you admire and want to obtain.
  3. Change your routine:Routine may lead to boredom. Changing one's routine now and then can lead to pockets of creativity every day. It can make each day special and unique.  Try adding some color into your wardrobe :)
  4. View challenges as a good thing: People who overcome hardships are some of the most interesting people to meet. They also have the most insight into the important things in life. If life is getting routine, try challenging yourself to something (reasonable for you--everyone is different with expectations) to continue growing.
  5. Try something new: Foods, music, cultures & people. Surprise yourself and try something! Give it a few chances, and be open to differences. Maybe take a different route home (managing the time difference) and enjoy the scenery.
  6. Be open to feedback/criticism: Take it with a grain of salt, and be open to listening to other perceptions. Sometimes a great idea can form with the feedback of others (This is a hard one).
  7. Learn something new:Stimulate your brain and learn! Learning increases connections and neural activity, and develops a person's skill sets. If learning is a lifestyle, it can be easier to pick up novel material, like hobbies, languages or technical skills.
  8. Do something you loved as a child: Many times we stop doing things we loved as children because the responsibilities of adulthood take over. Playing, drawing, or having fun can stimulate the creative process as well.
  9. Play video games: Current video games can promote novel thinking patterns or problem solving. Taking a break to play video games can help increase analytical thinking, which is part of the creative process and divergent thinking.
  10. Make art for the sake of making art. Forget about the end product!:Focus on the process and think of your relation to the medium. Focus on the energy as you create and stay present. Be open with imperfection. There is no perfect art product. Ask an artist, and he will tell you that his work is never finished. Try showing the art to people you trust.

Additional Resources:


Vohs, K. D. (2013). It's Not Mess. It's Creativity. New York Times. Sunday Review.

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