Boosting Creativity

When thinking back to some of my favorite projects and academic activities from elementary school until today, many of the most memorable assignments that come to mind are tasks that have involved creative thinking. I remember participating in Invent America in elementary school and (with some help from my dad) creating a kid-friendly apple slicer, which I believe my family still owns! I remember my presentation on Food in the Middle Ages my sophomore year of high school where I served a three course meal (including two types of homemade bread!) to my classmates. I remember my physics project my junior year of high school taking slow motion videos and freeze frame photographs of throwing a water balloon at my brother's face (sorry Jonah, but pictures turned out super cool!) Creative projects were "my thing" throughout elementary-high school and I remember countless other awesome projects that turned into family team-working and bonding efforts! 

From a young age, I have loved taking every opportunity possible to think outside the box and turn my imaginations into reality. While there seemed to be countless outlets for creativity in school when I was younger, I noticed that academic opportunities geared at boosting creativity began to decline somewhat throughout my high school experience. Over the years I have learned that creative thinking can and should be used in a much greater variety of settings, including outside of the classroom! I have also learned that boosting creativity can come in a variety of ways, including through actions even as small as trying a new recipe or learning a new word!

Sometimes when I feel like I've been studying for too long and need a brain break or have a sudden creative urge, I turn to some of the ways I have discovered help exercise my creativity! Here are just a few helpful, easy (and fun!) ways I enjoy unleashing a bit of my creative side!
1. Make a New Recipe-
Since cooking and baking are both things I love to do, experimenting with a new recipe is a great activity for when I'm having a creative urge (which is often)! It's so fun to try something completely new or take a shot at making some crazy difficult dessert! Creme brûlée is always fun (especially blow torching the sugar on the top!) Macarons are also a fun dessert to try making- check out my macaron post! 

2. Learn a New Language (or even a few words/phrases in a new language)-
I love learning foreign languages and spending some time learning new words or phrases in another language is such a fun way to me to use my creative thinking skills! I really enjoy the site/app Duolingo, a fun (and quite addictive!) language learning program, and I have completed the whole Duolingo Spanish program and am now working my way through program in French!

3. Exercise-
Just like your body, your brain needs exercise in order to "stay fit" and get the creative juices flowing! Taking a fun fitness class, going out for a run, or doing something fun like playing tennis or swimming are great ways to inspire creativity!

4. Write a short story-
Creative writing is such a fun practice that many people seem to stop after elementary or middle school! Once the focus shifts to writing papers and essays, it seems like creative writing is often ignored by many people but is such a fun way to exercise the brain in a new way. Last year I took a creative writing course and every day the teacher gave us a creative writing journal exercise that I came to love and really looked forward to! I have to admit, I haven't done much creative writing since, but really want to get back into writing fun stories and/or poems!

5.  Sit Outside-
When you're stuck in the classroom for hours each day and live in the confines of a small dorm room, sometimes having a change of scenery and sitting or studying outside is a great way to give your brain a fresh take on things! Though the snow in Boston has kept me inside quite a bit these past few months, lately it has been gradually warming up and I can't wait to soon be able to sit outside and enjoy the sun!

6. Create Something-
Creating something is one of my favorite ways to express creativity. Babysitting is such a fun outlet for me to utilize my love for arts and crafts, and I am quite the finger painting, card-making, and coloring pro! I have a box of markers and some paper in my dorm room and have taken out the art supplies multiple times this year!

7. Journal-
The past few years I have discovered that carrying a small journal around with me in my purse is a great way to record those random creative thoughts that seem to come up in the weirdest times! Instead of worrying about remembering the sudden life revelation or genius idea you thought of on the train, having something to jot down your thoughts or "brain dump" is a simple solution! If only they had something like that for me to record the genius ideas I come up with while in the shower... (apparently there is actually such a thing! Check out Aqua Notes...)

8. Organize-
I may or not be alone on this one, but one of the ways I also like to keep my creative juices flowing is through organizing! Thinking of creative ways to organize my desk drawers and/or closet is sometimes a fun activity, and something you'll thank yourself for later!

9. Listen to Music-
Listening to music is another way to exercise many parts of the brain and boost creativity! I love listening to music on Spotify, and really enjoy the different "genres and moods" of music they offer!

10. Read for Pleasure- 
Engaging in pleasure reading is a great way to exercise your brain and make more creative connections! I have read a variety of books this year from subjects such as food, health, psychology, and some great fiction reads! The latest book on my must read list is Eat Nourish Glow by Amelia Freer! Need to put it on the bookshelf ASAP!

One of my favorite quotes about creativity is by Maya Angelou, who states "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." While I may still be amazed at the crazy creative projects I have completed in the past, I can continue to foster creativity and grow my creative capacities even through simple things such as these ten activities!

 I hope you engage in something creative this week!

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