Everyone gets stuck in a rut from time to time. If you’re trying to solve problems but can’t seem to break free from the constraints of the ordinary, you need to unleash your creative juices. But that’s easier said than done when you’re focused on the pressing challenge in front of you. Here are a few mental fitness exercises that can help you get unstuck and start flexing your creative muscles.
Wait, isn’t this article supposed to be about mental fitness exercises? Indeed. It turns out that physical exercise is a powerful tool for not only the body but also the mind. Exercise releases substances in the brain called endorphins, which give you those feel-good vibes you get after a good workout. Activity can also take your mind off of whatever problems you’re trying to solve, giving you a fresh perspective when you’re ready to tackle the challenges once again.
Solitaire was once a popular workplace distraction that many people used to pass the time and beat boredom. But card games can actually be incredibly beneficial for boosting creativity as well. From facilitating conversation among friends at a competitive game of poker to putting your critical thinking skills to work, playing cards offers many brain benefits. If you’re not too competitive, playing a casual game of cards can also be a great stress-busting activity.
The word fidget is ordinarily a verb, but it’s also a noun: fidgets are unique little toys or gadgets that aim to occupy hands to free the mind, foster better focus (particularly for people with ADHD), and unleash creativity. That’s why you’ll find many executives with various toys on their desks, from pendulums to Rubik’s Cubes, stress balls, and more. In fact, some companies fill conference tables with toys to help foster the development of innovative ideas in brainstorming sessions.
Take a Walk
Sometimes, getting unstuck is simply a matter of getting out of your own head. Walking away from the problem at hand even for a few minutes can be just what you need to start thinking clearly and approach your problem with a fresh perspective. Take a five-minute walk and try to clear your mind while you stroll, letting go of the nagging thoughts that are keeping you from discovering a solution.
Add Some Noise
Most people don’t realize how much the environment they’re working in influences their productivity and creativity. Some people work best in an atmosphere with ambient noise, while others require total silence for their most intense work.
If you haven’t experimented with various levels of background noise, try listening to music while you work, or take your laptop to the local coffee shop to take advantage of the ambient noise. If that’s not an option, there are a few apps and websites that offer ambient sounds that mimic the sounds of a coffee house and other atmospheres to help people be more productive while they work.
Whether you work in a creative field or a technical one, every professional gets stuck from time to time. The next time you find yourself in a problem-solving conundrum, try these hacks to get out of your own head and tap into your creative juices. They’re a lot safer than certain other extracurricular activities.