A few weeks ago, I ran into 6 Ways Daily Exercise Skyrockets Your Productivity and among some of the usual suspects (exercise will improve your mood, help self-discipline, increase your energy), I saw an especially interesting exercise benefit: exercise can boost your creativity.
The article’s author, John Rampton, notes:
Creativity is highly related to productivity. This is because accomplishing tasks at a high level of competency often requires creativity. Otherwise, you might have to go back and make changes or spend more time brainstorming ideas and solutions.
When you exercise, you activate different parts of your brain and body that spike creativity. That makes it both easier to do work and it makes the work more creative.
Being also highly interested in the connection between our bodies and minds, I thought about exploring the specific types of exercise that are best for creativity. You know, such as how walking increases creativity.
However, then I started thinking about other ways exercise and creativity go together; specifically, creativity exercises.
There are loads of creativity exercises out there, and I encourage you to look at them all! Here though, I wanted to explore summer-specific exercises for creativity.
1. Head to an Outdoor Concert.
Lots of cities and towns have a type of summer concert series. Scout one out — or find a bigger show at a nearby outdoor venue — and bring your sketchpad or notebook and something to doodle with; instead of dancing to the tunes:
- Pick a cozy spot to sit and observe. You want to be close enough to the action to see and hear what’s going on, but far enough away that you can really focus on the scene.
- Focus on what you see and hear and spend some time with how you interpret it.
- Ask yourself how the scene affects you. How does it make you feel? Does it remind you of anything from the past? Does it make you hope for something in the future? Or are you completely focused on the present?
- Think of ways to convey how the scene affects you. Maybe certain colors best represent it, or maybe it makes you think of the perfect opening line to a short story you’re determined to explore.
- Start drawing or writing. Don’t get caught up in perfectionism; just write or draw everything that comes to mind and tackle the job of creating the finished product later. At the concert, just focus on getting the building blocks of that “finished product.”
EXTRA: This would also work with a camera!
2. Experiment With a New Summer Recipe.
You don’t have to be a master in the kitchen to enjoy cooking — and all the creative perks it offers.
For example, I have a good friend who is a a genius when it comes to anything related to preparing food. She’s the kind of person who can not only make something from scratch just by looking at a picture, but she can also sit down at a restaurant, take one — maybe two — bites of her plate, and immediately know what it needs more of or would also taste good with (and they’re usually herbs and spices I’ve never heard of!).
I, on the other hand, am the person who digs the pasta box back out of the garbage to double check how long I should boil it.
Still, I love getting on Pinterest and finding interesting recipes to try. I love the challenge of making something new and adding my own spin to them based on tastes (and jotting down notes to remember next time). I especially enjoy coming up with fun ways to plate the food and, of course, showcase my efforts on Instagram.
Give it a try!
EXTRA: If you actually are a wizard in the kitchen, or just have a few recipes you could make with your eyes closed, take a recipe you already know you’d make perfectly and switch up some of the ingredients. Think about what might taste good or better — or what might give the dish a completely different feel — and give it a try.
3. Document the Changing Scenery.
How brilliant is summer changing into autumn? How contemplative is autumn transitioning to winter? How awakening is winter turning into spring?
Visit a scenic spot in your neighborhood with your camera, paint or drawing supplies, or notebook and pencil. Describe the scene using your medium of choice — whether that means taking a picture, drawing or painting the scene, or describing it with words. Then, visit the exact spot again once this summer starts turning into fall. Try to sit in the very same spot and take another picture, or paint the changing scenery, or describe in words what it looks like now (fall).
EXTRA: Do this for every season (maybe even using more than one medium) and create a series!
What do you think? Any of these sound like they’ll stretch your creative muscles? Do you have other summer-inspired ways to get creative? Let us know it all in the comments below!