A Lifestyle Habit to Increase Creativity

Funny how experiences come full-circle.

I’ve spent the last few years working with a hospital and cardiovascular doctor — we’ve been designing the user experience and interface for a shared decision-making platform used by providers to help inform patients of the options available to them.

If you don’t know, I have no medical background.

Matter of fact, I have a fine arts degree. How is this relevant? The ONLY way I am doing this project is with gratitude for the extensive amount of articles, journals, scholarly research, and publications — available at free disposal for any mind curious enough to search it. Thank you, Google Search.

I should also mention, I have a long-standing love for mind health (the psychological research does in fact also help in user experience decisions) and now that I am working directly with a doctor, it drove my curiosity. I had to see if the two could relate.

I know, I know — it’s nothing new to hear… But maybe hearing about it so often isn’t coincidental. I’ve started working on improving my cardiovascular health aided by a consistent routine of mind exercises… and wouldn’t you know, I actually have better creative sessions as a result.

Last week I returned from my hiatus and jumped into a new phase of the project. New topic, new problem, new type of creative needs and approach. As I’ve been sticking to this routine, I’ve noticed a tremendous improvement in my creative ability to surface ideas more rapidly, more fluidly, even more intuitively.

Did you catch that? MORE INTUITIVELY. There is absolutely an inextricable link with physical/mental health and the creative brain. In fact, I found a little research to convince those nay-sayers.

“As Dr. John Ratey noted in his seminal work Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (2008), exercise isn’t just about physical health and appearance. It also has a profound effect on your brain chemistry, physiology, and neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to literally rewire itself). It affects not only your ability to think, create, and solve, but your mood and ability to lean into uncertainty, risk, judgment, and anxiety in a substantial, measurable way, even though until very recently it’s been consistently cast out as the therapeutic bastard child in lists of commonly accepted treatments for anxiety and depression.”
– The Creative Brain On Exercise
So to get to the point: To all those creatives who feel stuck this year, I strongly encourage starting the habit of being active for 30 minutes a day.
You’ll be amazed by the difference.