Mindfulness and Creativity: An Unlikely Pairing?
Liam Henderson 16 Nov 0

The Curious Connection Between Mindfulness and Creativity

Would it strike you as unexpected if I told you that mindfulness and creativity, two seemingly unrelated concepts, could work wonderfully together? It might seem unusual at first. Meditation and deep thoughts typically are not the first things that come to mind when you think about creating something innovative and exciting. Hazel often jokes that if I sat meditating in my study all day, my writing output would surely plummet. As piquant as her remarks are, I can't help but differ. As a writer, I can assure you, nothing could be further from the truth!

My Golden Retriever, Greg, and I resonate well with this theory—finding the stillness necessary for both of us to function at our best. With him, it's chasing balls and fetching sticks. With me, it's weaving a narrative and tapping into new ideas.

Mindfulness: A Route to Inner Tranquillity

Mindfulness is essentially about training oneself to achieve a state of heightened awareness and focus. It involves seeing and understanding everything you're experiencing, moment by moment, without judging whether it's good or bad. Mindfulness has roots in ancient Eastern philosophies and has been found to reduce stress, improve mental health, increase focus, and enhance the overall quality of life.

It's more than just a health fad though—it's a tool to help us excavate the uncharted corners of our minds. By invoking a sense of tranquility, mindfulness liberates the subconscious mind, allowing your thoughts to flow freely. It creates an open field where creativity can frolic and play.

Creativity: The Colorful Adventure of The Mind

Creativity, on the other hand, is all about constructing something new and meaningful from our thoughts and experiences. It's the tool that writers like me use to craft fascinating narratives, invent unforgettable characters, and keep readers hooked till the very last page.

However, creativity can sometimes be like a stubborn child, throwing tantrums and refusing to cooperate. I'm sure every creative soul can relate to the dread of being stuck in a cycle of frustration when their fountain of creativity runs dry. But wouldn't it be fantastic if there was a way to coax this stubborn child out to play whenever we want?

Mindfulness and Creativity: The Dance Duo

That's exactly where mindfulness can lend a helping hand. In fact, recent studies have found that practicing mindfulness can, quite surprisingly, boost creativity. It may seem like an unlikely mix at first because, traditionally, we tend to associate the practice of mindfulness with the quieter aspects of life where coexisting harmoniously — and often passively — with the surrounding reality is the key goal. Meanwhile, creativity demands we be active and enthusiastic agents, disrupting the status quo with our resourcefulness and vision.

However, the relationship between mindfulness and creativity is like a dance – a ballet of brainwaves if you will. While mindfulness tends to foster a serene and focused mind, creativity takes advantage of this calm state to play within the tranquil space, generating exciting and innovative ideas.

A Glimpse into Practicing Mindful Creativity

So, how can we introduce this dance duo to our everyday lives? Here's a little personal story. A while back, I found myself stuck in the infamous writer's block. The stories I wanted to tell were hiding behind a thick fog, elusive and obscure. I felt as if the tap of creativity had run dry, and my usual routines weren't replenishing it. Now, before this point, I'd at best been an irregular practitioner of mindfulness. My darling wife Hazel, however, suggested that I take up regular meditative practices seriously.

And guess what? It worked! By immersing myself in the practice of mindfulness, I found my writer's block dissipating. The stillness and focus that mindfulness brought allowed my thoughts to flow freely again. In effective mindfulness meditation, you become an observer, fostering an attitude of openness and curiosity towards your own thoughts and emotions. This state is akin to airing out a room that's been closed for too long—it's a complete refresh.

Tips for Incorporating Mindfulness to Boost Creativity

Do Hazel and I have your attention now? If yes, then here are a few tips to help you introduce mindfulness into your daily routine:

  • Start small. If you've never practiced mindfulness before, begin with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase your time.
  • Find a quiet place free from interruptions. It could be your study, like mine, or even your backyard.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. It gives your mind a point of focus and calms your body.
  • Practice patience with yourself. It's normal for your mind to wander. When it does, simply guide it back without judgment.
  • Don't rush through it. Mindfulness is about being in the moment, not rushing to the next one.

Remember, mindfulness is all about attending to the present moment without judgment, and creativity is all about freely exploring the possibilities within that moment. In other words, mindfulness and creativity are two sides of the same coin, each feeding and nurturing the other in a harmonious and productive dance. So go ahead and explore these practices for yourself. You might be surprised at what you discover!

And remember, even if you don't believe in their power, Greg, the wise golden retriever in his own way, and I swear by their efficacy!