Explain everything back to yourself:
In a capitalist world, we have been forced to consume a lot more than we create. We watch films and read books without really thinking about them outside of academic contexts. Thus we need to form a habit of explaining our basic understanding of things we consume to ourselves – understanding leads to knowledge which leads to a greater range of idea-making.
Become more open-minded:
If you really want to be more creative, you need to consider all possibilities without rejecting them simply because they are new. This may be a difficult habit to break because as humans we thrive in habitual situations and often find a simple change in routine a disaster. Overcome this by exposing yourself to as many new contexts, situations, concepts and experiences as possible, regardless of your original feeling toward them. Not only will you begin to appreciate everything based on its own merit, you will feel freer with your own ideas and concepts, growing your creativity from there.
Regain your access to your memory:
In school, our ability to remember was practiced often but as we grow and settle down into routines and work, we begin to stop accessing and exercising our memories. This is a huge mistake as memory is where your ideas will come from. If you cannot access your memory, you cannot ask it questions, and you cannot explore every possibility. One way to exercise this ability to question your memory is to attempt to solve a problem using the perspectives of people you know, which will help you remember new information and think creatively.
Synchronize your brain:
Much of what we do in the Western world is left-brain based – managing, organizing, debating, arguing, assigning, planning… even sitting in front of the television is more of a left-brain activity because we are simply absorbing without truly being involved. For creative thinking, synchronized left- and right-brain hemispheres are important to make new connections and come up with new ideas. Practice more activities that make use of both sides of the brain at the same time, such as listening to or making music, writing, meditating, exercising, and painting or drawing. Even socializing affects your brain in positive ways.
A study undertaken at the University of Western Ontario in 20101 found that a positive mood improved problem solving and aided creative flexible thinking. Of course, the trick is in maintaining an optimistic outlook in the first place. According to the Harvard Business Review, we should aim for a 3 to 1 ‘positivity ratio’ to change your mind set by curbing negative thoughts through engaging in meditative activities, sleeping better, exercising, and laughing.