Stimulating Creativity

JANUARY 18, 2013

“How can I become more creative?” It’s a question I hear many people asking.

“Where do good ideas come from? How can I come up with the next Facebook?” Clearly, if I had the answer to the last one I would be happy to share it, but unfortunately I do not. What we can do is increase our ability to think creatively, helping stimulate idea generation and an out-of-the-box outlook on life.

I feel that one of the most important keys to being creative is actually quite simple: you have to be happy and passionate about what you’re doing. If you hate what you’re doing, quit! Creativity flow is turned off when you’re not happy and thinking outside of the box is nearly impossible — I’m not the first person to tell you this and I won’t be the last. You need to find something that excites you and you will be amazed to watch your capabilities and motivation increase.

Over the years, researchers have highlighted some specific ways to fuel your creative drive.

A little known fact is that creativity is created through the neurotransmitter in the brain known as dopamine. Seems quite fitting since dope (marijuana) is quite often referenced for stimulating creativity. The three keys I will focus on to increase creativity and dopamine boosts are exercise, chocolate and sex.

The power of sport can significantly increase your dopamine levels when you reach your anaerobic threshold. To achieve this, you must take the number 220 and minus your age. This will give you a target heart rate. You then must achieve this target heart rate for six minutes, three times - best achieved through interval training. Studies show this will boost your dopamine levels, resulting in idea flow like never seen before. Ha, let’s hope!

The second one is easy: chocolate. Studies have shown the “happy food” chocolate can provide significant boosts of dopamine, helping produce creative thoughts one Snickers at a time. The next time you find yourself sitting around thinking about your next creative ad, or how you are going to attract more followers, maybe insert a chocolate bar for best results.

Last and surely not least is sex. Yep, its true: the more sex you have, the higher your dopamine levels increase and the more creative you become. If personal enjoyment wasn’t enough reason to pursue relations, you can now chock up the desire to become more creative.

The next step is to learn to capitalize and capture this creativity. Some tricks I use is having a constant notepad on my computer and cell phone to continually brainstorm. Ideas come and go very quickly; jot them down and bounce them off of friends later to gauge your concept.

Luckily for me I am writing this post from Antwerp, Belgium, the chocolate capital of the world. Creativity should not be a problem for me!

- Matty