Does Your Morning Routine Support Your Creativity?By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
March 18, 2012
Have you decided that you are not creative? Do you feel a deadness regarding creativity?
“Everything about the way we start our day runs counter to the best conditions for thinking creatively,” wrote Annie Murphy Paul in an article entitled “Why Morning Routines Are Creativity Killers.” (http://ideas.time.com/2012/02/01/why-morning-routines-are-creativity-killers/)
“Brrriiinnng. The alarm clock buzzes in another hectic weekday morning. You leap out of bed, rush into the shower, into your clothes and out the door with barely a moment to think. A stressful commute gets your blood pressure climbing. Once at the office, you glance through the newspaper, its array of stories ranging from discouraging to depressing to tragic. With a sigh, you pour yourself a cup of coffee and get down to work, ready to do some creative, original problem solving.”
Right. Does this routine support creative thinking? Not according to recent studies.
“In a study published in the journal Thinking and Reasoning last year, researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks reported that imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused.”
I never thought about this before, but it just happens that I’ve always given myself time in the morning to lay in bed, groggy and unfocused, and remember my dreams. During this half-asleep half-awake time, many creative thoughts pop into my mind. I continue my creative thinking as I take my dogs for a walk, doing my Inner Bonding work to connect with my feelings and my spiritual Guidance. It’s often during this time that ideas for articles or other creative ideas pop into my mind. And I haven’t listened to or watched the news for years because it’s too upsetting and depressing.
While you might have to get up a half–hour or 45 minutes earlier to do all this, I would guess that the rest of your day would be much more satisfying. It makes it so much easier for me to stay tuned in to myself throughout the day when I start the day off with this routine.
Is it loving to yourself to NOT give yourself this time? I would bet that if you decided to support yourself in this way, you could find a way to go to sleep 30 or 45 minutes earlier and not lose any sleep.
Why Is All This Important?
Creativity feeds the soul. Your natural core self is intrinsically creative, and when you don’t give yourself creative time, you might feel deadened, numb or depressed inside.
Have you ever watched young children playing freely? They are naturally extremely creative in making up games and stories. I was recently with two of my grandchildren, Everest and Asher, ages seven and three. Even though there is a big age difference between them, they play wonderfully together. I felt great joy in watching them go from one creative, imaginative activity to another, learning and growing moment by moment. They often enlisted me to help in their play, which I joyously did. For example, Everest asked me to make some origami animal families that were too hard for him to make, and he and Asher made up a wonderful game around these animals that kept them occupied for over an hour.
This kind of creative, imaginative play supports both their intellectual and relational learning. Asher learns so much from Everest, and Everest gains much satisfaction in inspiring Asher. In fact, during this origami game, Everest came over to me with a big grin of satisfaction, saying “The origami animals are inspiring Asher’s creativity!” How wonderful that he can receive great joy at supporting his younger brother’s creativity! And this is because creativity is highly valued in their household.
Wouldn’t it be loving to yourself to begin to value your own creativity, and do whatever you can to inspire yourself to open to the natural creativity that is in all of us? How about starting with getting up a bit earlier and giving yourself groggy, unfocused creative time?
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The path of love is not the easy path - it is the road less traveled. It requires letting go of power and control over others and outcomes. It requires strict adherence to truth, to living and speaking the radical truth. Today, be truthful with yourself about what path you are on - the path of fear, control and avoidance of pain, or the path of courage, truth and love.
By Dr. Margaret Paul