The Challenge: Many of us wish we were more creative… The Science: Studies say a particular form of meditation can do the trick. The Solution: Try out this free guided meditation that may help you boost your creativity!
“I roll out of bed producing only top-notch creative work. It takes no effort whatsoever. It just happens without any frustration or anxiety at all.” – No one, ever
As creative types we know the truth… that creativity is hard. Fortunately, researchers have found an exercise that could give us a boost. It’s called open monitoring meditation and several studies say it primes your mind for idea generation.
I’m seven exclamation points worth of excited about this lifehack!!!!!!!
Let’s get started.
What is open monitoring meditation?
Open monitoring (OM) meditation is like a kind of attentive daydreaming. The meditator allows her awareness to settle on whatever feelings, thoughts or sensations come across her mind’s eye. She doesn’t get attached to any one idea. She lets herself flow non-judgmentally from one thought to another. She simply sits quietly and notices where her mind travels. The practice generally lasts about 20 minutes and has been linked to a host of health/mood benefits. (Guided walkthrough included at the bottom).
Well that sounds dandy but what about the creativity?
I’m getting there!
Leading creativity researcher Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman recently summarized a good deal of what we know about high-level creative achievement in an article for Scientific American. In it he says that the ability to generate a large quantity of ideas in a non-judgmental fashion is crucial. Intuitively, it even sounds like open monitoring meditation would help us with idea generation, right?
Well it does.
The studies I’ve referenced for this article covered a wide variety of age groups, experience levels and styles of meditation, using different tests to measure creativity. These results rely primarily on the Alternate Uses Task, which was used “to objectively measure the generation of new ideas”. The AUT confronts participants with everyday-use items, such as a towel and asks them to list many different uses, such as “waving it as a flag”. It’s the kind of test that benefits from generating many original ideas and the results were strikingly clear each time – that OM meditation enhances creative work more than any other style.
I’ve cited three separate articles for this post and all three have reached the same conclusion: that “OM meditation induces a control state that promotes divergent thinking, a style of thinking that allows many new ideas to be generated.”
New to meditation?
Never tried meditation and don’t want to spend hours training to gain the benefits? This study found that “prior practice is not a necessary requirement for meditation to impact creativity.”
So basically this practice is free. It’s got a host of benefits. It’s effective for any experience level. AND it helps us with something we care about deeply – our creative work.
Try this free guided meditation!
Give the guided meditation above a listen and see if it doesn’t make the whole creativity thing a little easier.
Megan Monahan, who created this meditation just for this article, has studied with Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Simon and many other notable figures in the health/wellness community. She is a meditation/lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles, CA. For more on Megan, visit her website: http://www.meganmonahan.com/