Creative experiences are like Lindt's truffles: rich in variety, supplying a dopamine rush that signals "reward" to the brain- just enough reward to give a sense of satisfaction and trigger interest in going for another. While chocolate will always stand as one of life's greatest pleasures, the right "dose" of creative experience has a stronger -and longer-lasting impact. Plus its calorie-free. And no sugar hangover. And that is because with creative experiences we have to work harder and take on more of a challenge to achieve
|by Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP|
- Because of its underlying adaptation for learning, it grows and reshapes itself in response to challenge, or withers through lack of use;
- It prefers to search and discover patterns for itself through active learning;
- Its capacities increase in direct relationship to the number of cells composing it, and the number of connections that exist between them;
- Creativity and productivity go up when projects that deeply engage us correspond to our skill levels but also stretch them;
- People are least creative when pressured for time;
- Creativity requires deep engagement with the problem and an incubation period during which ideas can bubble up.
- Feelings matter. Creativity is negatively associated with pressure, anger, fear, and anxiety.
- Collaboration within teams boost creativity, competition squashes it. Trust and confidence in one another helps teams share and speak openly about ideas.
So this is what the science shows us: There are creativity-positive environments. There are people who are very much in touch with their creative capacities and seek out any possible pathway to develop and express them. There are loads of people who have bought into the myth that creativity is the province of a select few so have not discovered nor tapped the well of creative energy that is within. But those individuals have a story that contains clues to what compels them, and what compels them is the fuel to the creative spark.
It is not easy to find work environments that capitalize on workers' creativity, so many of us have to find ways to fan the inner flames on our own. The good news is that research published in the Journal of Occupation and Organizational Psychology shows that creative pursuits outside of work "has a direct effect on factors such as creative problem solving and helping others while on the job," according to Kevin Eschleman, one of the study's authors. The research shows that creative activities impact employees' performance by:
- Providing a way to recover from the demands of their job;
- Recharging mentally and psychologically;
- Increasing one's sense of control;
- Providing opportunities to develop skills that can be transferable to one's job;
Jude Treder-Wolff is a consultant/trainer and writer/performer. For a schedule of upcoming workshops go to www.lifestage.org/training. She is host and creator of (mostly) TRUE THINGS a storytelling show with a twist. Follow her on Twitter