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In need of creativity? Take a walk

Posted on May 8, 2014 | Comments

This is the “M” month—for May, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day.  In that order which means Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

The definition of mother has broadened over the years to include relationships of all types.  Thus, sentiments may vary depending upon the circumstances.  Gratefully for many, greeting card companies have expanded card selections to accommodate our changing relationships and cultures.  Still, sometimes a card doesn’t quite say what we would like it to express or we don’t think we can “find the right words” on our own. That’s where florists offer the opportunity to “say it with flowers” or candy companies promote “sweetness” of a different kind.

I believe what comes from our heart will always be well received regardless of how it is stated.  And it doesn’t have to be long and poetic.  While you may think you have procrastinated beyond the time necessary to create something special that may not be the case.  In Tina Seelig’s book, “Ingenius: A crash course on creativity,” she states that “constraints of all types play an important role in creative output.” A whole chapter is devoted to the types of constraints including time limitations.  She puts a positive spin on how deadlines give us the push we sometimes need to get something done, and that we can come through with flying colors.

Another example of how constraints benefit creativity is limitations of the scope.  The social media success of Twitter restricting its users to 140 characters demonstrates the advantages of limits.  In professor Seelig’s class on creativity, she asked students to tell their life story in six words.  Students responded with some very telling stories such as “I am disabled, but not helpless” and “Found on CraigsList, table, apartment, fiance.”

Given these ideas about creativity, there’s hope for expressing ourselves with Mother’s Day sentiments.  If you need a time constraint to make those creative juices flow, sounds like procrastination could be to your benefit.  If you are a person of “few words,” see what you can say in six.  If you feel completely out of ideas, take a walk.  That’s right; people generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit, according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.  It was suggested that possibly walking interferes with the brain’s ability to filter thoughts.  Guess that explains how I came up with this column on my walk this morning.  And now, with just six words left of my quota, my wishes may sound tried and true, and that still works too:  “Happy Mother’s Day to ALL Mothers!”


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