The key to Creativity lies in our ability to gain from experience and build connections to generate new energy & ideas. If we are mindful of all of our five senses – sight, sound, touch, scent and taste – we can use them to our advantage to stimulate our minds and spark more creativity. Horses are masters of the senses and they have a lot to teach us about how we can be more attuned to ourselves and the environment around us. For instance, by learning how to have the “soft eye” of a horse, we gain a wider perspective and can see and experience our environs in new ways. Successful interaction with horses depends on our ability to slow down and connect with awareness — awareness of them, ourselves, our surroundings, and the nature of our relationship. Through participating in activities with equines, we can expand our experience, heighten our senses, and Harness Creativity. But of course, interaction with horses isn’t the only way we can be more attuned to ourselves and our environment. Read on for ways to connect with your 5 senses and enhance creativity on a daily basis.
Sight might have the greatest impact on your state of mind. What your eyes take in around you will affect your creativity and focus. If you’re working indoors, consider your surroundings. What does it look like? What is the lighting like? For focus and alertness, direct daylight is always your best option. A 2012 study published in Behavioral Neuroscience found that people who were exposed to daylight versus those exposed to artificial light for six hours two days in a row felt more alert, and performed more accurately on tasks. Lighting aside, designing your indoor space to include images & colors from nature-like greens & landscapes can also help give your creativity a boost. Or better yet, just get outside and inspire some creativity to bring back with you to your projects.
You may think that perfect silence is the best condition to work under. Silence does indeed enhance your focus, but if you’re doing more creative work, ambient noise is most effective in stimulating your thinking. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that ambient noise is an important variable that can improve creativity. Taking yourself to a coffee shop, library or other spot where there is a bit of gentle background activity can help create an ideal environment for creativity. Once again, nature is a great place to find ambient noise that won’t have you distracted by conversations or dialogue. There are even apps out there that can replicate these ambient environments if you can’t get to the real thing!
If you’re uncomfortable in your skin, it’s hard to think of anything else. An uncomfortable office chair, constrictive work garments or a less than ideal temperature in your immediate environment are bound to distract you! Tune into the messages your body is giving you and get comfortable! You’ll notice more things that may spark your creativity and boost your awareness of being alive — the gentle breeze against your skin, the softness of the pillow you’re sitting on, or the warmth of another being (human or animal) as you place your hand upon their back…can you feel their heartbeat?
You may have already noticed your reactions to certain smells — the smell of cut grass has you reminiscing about summer days as a teen, cookies baking in the oven reminds you of your grandmother, lavender makes you think of the spa….ahhhh. The link between scent and memory is a fascinating & powerful one. What’s even more interesting is that this physical effect may also be learned. That’s where the idea of personal aromatherapy comes in. Personal aromatherapy is a smell that’s closely related to an activity or interest that you’re highly invested in or really enjoy doing. The more “active” this activity is, the theory goes, the more its related smell will boost your energy. The smell and its effect on you are very personal things. If you love being around horses and you use a lot of energy doing it, chances are the smell of hay or saddle leather will get you going. Same goes for someone who loves cooking upon entering the spice aisle in the store. When faced with these meaningful smells, you can’t help but feel a little rush of energy and pleasant thought. What activity do you really get fired up for? Does it have a distinct smell that goes along with it? If you can find a way to give yourself a “shot” when you need it, you may have found the secret to staying charged up and motivated every day.
The connection between food and your mood has been demonstrated across studies over the years. Incorporating fruits, green vegetables, and complex carbohydrates into your diet helps with energy and focus. Fill your body with junk, and your mind won’t be running on the best fuel. Priming your mood and mind for focused creative work means thinking about what foods might help fuel you to get there. Trying new flavors or global cuisine can help inspire you to get your imagination going – where did this food come from? What might it be like in this place?
Tapping into your senses in your regular environment will help you have more control over what you’re taking in, which in turn can help you to have more control over what you put out. In addition to using these tools in your usual work & living spaces, you can spark creativity by getting out of your normal environment altogether! See new sights, hear new sounds, smell new smells! Having new experiences that take you out of the usual day-to-day can wake you up and bring inspiration to that highly creative being that may just be lying dormant within you.