Colored Light BulbsEveryone suffers occasionally from a lack of creativity. The writer sits for hours staring at a blank screen, the painter at a blank canvas, the inventor at a box full of wires. Often, the solution is to put the task aside until you feel the creative juices flowing again. When you’re under a deadline, however, more aggressive interventions are necessary.

Here are three surefire tips to jumpstart your creativity:

1.Take a walk in nature. The human brain is actually two brains processing information differently. In western society, we often overutilize the “left brain” and underutilize the “right brain.” The right side of your brain is holistic, spontaneous, creative, and emotional. It is stimulated by music and art, but really comes alive with exercise and the enjoyment of the outdoors. Walking pumps blood to your brain and allows you time to think creative thoughts.

2.Play the “what if” game. Think of a routine situation, then ask yourself, “what if” things were radically different? Get whacky! What if the earth’s gravitational field only worked during daylight? What if basketball hoops were only six feet high? What if men and women routinely lived to be 200 years old? Have fun with this exercise for a while, then go back to the task at hand.

3.Break away from your routine. Take a different route to work or to the grocery store. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand. Change your hairstyle for a day. Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to, like the sanitation workers driving around your neighborhood. Go to a restaurant you’ve never tried before. Break all of your own routines for one day, then work on your project the following day.

Above all, remember that your brain’s cerebral cortex, capable of higher thought processes, contains 15-33 billion neurons, each connected to several thousand other neurons. Your brain is one of the most complex structures in the universe. Its capabilities are beyond imagination, and you can tap into your brain’s wonders at any time.

Chuck Chamberlain, ELP Editor-in-Chief