How to Unlock Your Creativity in Stressful Times

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended our lives in unprecedented ways, causing immense stress and uncertainty. The human brain, however, possesses remarkable capabilities to protect and adapt. To tap into this potential and foster creativity, it’s essential to understand how the brain responds to stress and implement strategies to alleviate fear and anxiety. Here are four effective techniques to unleash your creative instincts:

Reclaim Control

Uncertainty breeds feelings of being lost and powerless. To counter this, take charge of your own disruptions. By embracing uncertainty and choosing your direction, you regain agency and a sense of control. According to Jonathan Fields, host of the Good Life Project podcast, maintaining focus on your ultimate destination engages the prefrontal cortex (PFC) – the seat of planning and control. This shift enables clearer thinking and prevents fear from hijacking your creativity.

Cultivate a Supportive Environment

Creating an environment that encourages creativity is crucial, especially in a remote or hybrid work setting. Foster collaboration and innovation by providing the necessary tools, setting clear expectations, and moderating brainstorming sessions effectively. Andrew Yanofsky, head of operations at WowWee, emphasizes the importance of structure and psychological safety in nurturing creativity. By making the creative process more intentional, teams can continue to generate ideas even during challenging times.

Exercise Cognitive Flexibility

To enhance creative thinking during stressful periods, venture beyond your comfort zone. Research suggests that diversifying your areas of focus significantly boosts cognitive flexibility, facilitating fluid ideation. Marie Incontrera, a social media marketing consultant and composer, teamed up with Dorie Clark, a renowned business thinker, to create a musical theater project amid the pandemic. This collaboration outside their core expertise sparked new creative directions. By cross-training your brain and immersing yourself in different activities, you can ignite fresh perspectives and unlock hidden creativity.

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Foster Connection

Protracted stress and disruption can stifle creativity both individually and collectively. Lourdes Olvera-Marshall, a diversity and inclusion strategist, discovered that remote work often diminished creativity due to back-to-back Zoom meetings. To combat this, she prioritized social connection and unleashed oxytocin, the social hormone, during virtual meetings. By dedicating time for personal interactions and creating a relaxed atmosphere, teams built trust and generated vibrant and diverse ideas. This emotional support nurtured creativity and motivation, catalyzing innovation amidst uncertainty.

By implementing these strategies, you can transform stress into a catalyst for creativity. Reclaim control, cultivate a conducive environment, exercise cognitive flexibility, and foster connection to unlock your creative potential. Embrace these techniques during challenging times to leverage the power of your mind and unleash bold and inspired ideas. Remember, creativity thrives when faced with change, disruption, and global uncertainty. For more insights on creativity and personal growth, visit 5 WS.

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