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How to Stimulate the Creative Process

Scientists say we all have the potential for greatness if we learn to tap into our inner genius. Get your artistic juices flowing with these strategies.


  • Step 1: Sleep on it. Over the years, researchers have found that the REM sleep cycle boosts our creativity and problem-solving abilities, providing us with innovative ideas or the answers to vexing dilemmas when we awaken.
  • TIP: Keep a pen and paper by the bed so you can write down your nocturnal insights if they wake you up.
  • Step 2: Go for a run or hit the gym. Studies indicate exercise stimulates creative thinking, and the brainpower boost lasts for a few hours.
  • Step 3: Allow your mind to wander a few times every day. Far from being a waste of time, daydreaming has been found to be an essential part of coming up with new ideas.
  • TIP: If you're stuck on a problem or creatively blocked, think about something else for a while.
  • Step 4: Keep learning. Studying something far removed from your area of expertise is especially effective in helping you think in new ways.
  • Step 5: Put yourself in nerve-racking situations once in a while to fire up your brain. Fear and frustration trigger innovative thinking.
  • Step 6: Keep a notebook or PDA with you so you always have a way to record fleeting thoughts. They're sometimes the best ideas of all.
  • FACT: Author Robert Louis Stevenson said the idea for his 1886 book Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to him in a dream.

You Will Need

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Daydreams
  • Continuing education
  • Challenges
  • A notebook or PDA
  • Pen and paper (optional)

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