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Creativity helps in so many aspects of life. Whether it’s in a relationship, at work or in school, some problems require just a bit of creative thinking. So why wouldn’t you want to kick your creativity up a notch?
In 2012, scientists from the University of Groningen and North Dakota State University discovered a link between mindfulness and creativity. Researchers found that volunteers who completed a 10 minute meditation were better at spotting and solving problems in creative ways than people who didn’t meditate.1
Scientists at Leiden University in the Netherlands found that, for experienced meditators, just 35 minutes of mindful meditation improved “divergent thinking”, a style of thinking which encourages the creation of new ideas, like thinking of novel ways to use common household items.2
Additionally, psychologists at the University of Amsterdam recently showed that mindfulness, and specifically the ability to pay attention to and be aware of present-moment experiences, is essential to creativity.3
Scientists in Israel have found that mindfulness has the potential to lessen mental rigidity and increase creativity by reducing our tendency to rely on ingrained patterns of thought, or habits. Their research showed that experienced meditators were more open to generating new solutions to problems compared to nonmeditators.4
- Ostafin, B. & Kassman, K. (2012). Stepping out of history: Mindfulness improves insight problem solving. Consciousness and Cognition. 21, 2. 1031 - 1036.
- Colzato, L., Ozturk, A. & Hommel, B. (2012). Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking. Front. Psychology. 3, 116.
- Bass, M., Nevicka, B., & Ten Velden, F. S. (2014). Specific Mindfulness Skills Differentially Predict Creative Performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(9):10921106.
- Greenberg, J., Reiner, K. & Meiran, N. (2012). “Mind the Trap”: Mindfulness Practice Reduces Cognitive Rigidity. PLoS One, 7(5):e36206.