Increase your creativity with meditation
If you want to improve your creativity, focus, problem solving, and ability to enter a state of creative flow you should start meditating. Here’s why…
If you’re a creative professional or have a creative business/job/practice/skill/study/hobby that requires a fairly constant generation of ideas and solutions, chances are you’ve encountered times when the once free flowing creative becomes dried up and nowhere in sight.
A regular practice of meditation could be the very thing that your brain needs to help you move more easily into the brainwave state associated with optimal performance, creative solutions and improving your productivity.
Meditation isn’t just about managing stress or deepening your spiritual practice; it can simply be a way to use your brain effectively.
Brain wave frequencies
Here’s the basic idea: the brain produces electromagnetic fields which can be measured on an electroencephalograph (EEG). These brainwave frequencies change depending on whether we’re awake, in deep sleep, meditating or highly stressed. And our brain function, ability to think effectively and be creative changes as we move between frequency states.
These are the five brain wave frequencies that you can experience…
GAMMA (the fastest) – Involved in higher processing tasks and cognitive functioning, important for learning and information processing. Gamma waves can occur during meditation states.
BETA (fast) –
Associated with normal waking consciousness, alertness, logical and critical reasoning. Low to mid beta waves create a relaxed, focused and interested attention however high beta waves create stress, anxiety and intense worry during crises. During high beta, the brain releases stress chemicals which can be harmful to the body long-term.
ALPHA (slow) – This state occurs as we begin to fall asleep, during meditation or get into the ‘flow’ of a repetitive creative task. We experience a deep relaxation/light meditative/daydream state but are still conscious. This state is when our imagination, visualisation, memory, learning and concentration increases. Interestingly, alpha state is associated with peak athletic and creative performance.
THETA (slower) – Also known as twilight or lucid state. This is our half awake/half asleep state where there is no veil between the conscious and subconscious minds. We’re kinda hanging out in both. This is achieved through deep meditation and improves intuition, creativity and access to information beyond normal consciousness.
DELTA (the slowest) – Occurs during really deep sleep or in very deep transcendental meditation where we have very little conscious awareness. During this state we move deeper into the subconscious mind and the body experiences deep healing and restoration.
Need a creative solution? Drop everything and meditate. When we close our eyes, less sensory information enters our nervous system and we become less preoccupied with the outer world and start to focus on the internal world. Our heart rate slows, the breath deepens and we enter a relaxed nervous system state. We move out of the rational/analytical ‘beta wave’ state and enter alpha. From here is where we can access information within our subconscious mind and heightened imagination. Hopefully for you, there’s an answer in there somewhere.
The aim is meditate long enough to move into the ‘flow state’ between alpha and theta. This is the optimal state for higher processing, concentration, intuition and creativity.
Whatever you do, if you’ve hit a wall with new ideas and are getting frustrated (writers, thinkers, musicians, designers, engineers, artists listen up) don’t strain the brain and get stressed further. Take a decent break, meditate and return to your task in a calmer state. If that fails, then sleep on it. You’ll definitely enter the alpha/theta state here.
How to get started
Start a daily practice of just 10 minutes each morning before you start your day. Download the Headspace app, it has a free 10 day guided meditation series. Be patient with yourself. Your mind will wander all the time. This is normal and expected. Over time, you may want to explore other types of meditation. Google will show you the way.
Frequency is the key. Work out the time you can commit to meditation daily. 10 minutes daily is still better than 1 hour once a week.
Also worth noting, stimulants such as caffeine keep you in a beta state for longer so probably not worth having your coffee before your morning meditation. Check out my article about whether or not you’re drinking too much coffee. You might be surprised!