Shake yourself out of a creative brain freeze by taking a walk
I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. I love it for the way it connects me with people and makes it easier to do research and write. I hate it for how fried I am after sitting in front of it for hours at a time. And as much as I can accomplish with a computer, I find that sitting in front of it isn’t the best place to find those epiphanies that can change everything.
Some of my best ideas come when I’m taking a shower, going for a swim, driving my car, and going for a walk. As it turns out, scientists have proven that people generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit.
Santa Clara professor of psychology Marily Oppezzo was the lead author on a study that measured creativity among participants based on if they were walking or sitting. Oppezzo and professor Daniel L. Schwartz wrote an article based on the research: “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” that was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition in April of this year.
Research findings proved that walking leads to more free-flowing thoughts and more creativity.
Researchers tested 176 people for creativity while walking and found 100 percent came up with more creative ideas in one experiment, while 95 percent, 88 percent,and 81 percent of the walker groups in the other experiments had more creative responses compared with when they were sitting.
The findings also indicate that the creative boost people gain from walking can last awhile. Experiments showed that people who took creativity tests while walking and then while sitting generated more ideas in their chairs compared with seated volunteers who didn’t go for a walk.
Professors speculate that walking increases arousal in the brain and also interferes with the brain’s tendency to filter thoughts.
So when you’re stuck on problem or want to figure out a new line for a poem, a new plot twist for your novel, or a way to weave a new character into your story, go for a walk.
Creative Commons image courtesy of stockmedia.cc and stockarch.com.