I’ve always loved meditation as a concept, though I have the hardest time shutting my mind up enough to actually sit still and meditate. Thankfully, I have other ways of meditating, or at least clearing my mind enough to allow for creative thoughts.
I walk every day, which allows me to think while my body is occupied. Running is another form of self-hypnosis/meditation, and I love to sit by the beach and watch the waves crash. They may not sound like your classic “meditation techniques”, but they work! I find that when I engage in these activities, my mind is freed and I can come up with some pretty creative ideas. I’d estimate that 50% of my best ideas were conceived at the gym or walking to and from it.
According to a study posted on Science Daily, meditation can promote creative thinking. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried meditation before–it works!
This study took 40 random people and had them engage in meditative techniques before undergoing thinking tests. The meditation helped the participants to improve their thought processes in two ways:
Divergent thinking — This involved taking a common object and finding new and creative uses for it. After meditating, the subjects were able to think up more and more unique uses for the common objects.
Convergent thinking — This involves finding the single solution for a given problem. For example, the subjects were given the words “hair”, “time”, and “stretch”. They had to come up with the answer, which was “long”. After meditating, they found the answers to these problems more quickly.
These are the two basic ingredients of creativity. Every creative thought involves one of these two types of thinking (either finding new uses for common things, or finding creative ways to connect seemingly random ideas and objects).
Which meditation technique worked best? Open Monitoring, or focusing on EVERY sensation or thought that entered their mind. Instead of shutting things out and focusing on just one thing, the subjects were most creative after letting their minds wander and being open and aware of the new sensations and thoughts.
If you want to be more creative, it’s worth a try! You can do it anywhere and at any time, all you need to do is let your mind wander and examine every new thought as it enters your mind. You’ll find yourself coming up with new ideas thanks to this simple meditative technique, and you’d be surprised by how creative your mind can get when you allow it free rein.