Next time you’re stuck for ideas, head outdoors and shift your focus onto something else. Psychologists at Stamford University in California showed that walking is particularly good at improving some aspects of creative thought, particularly the free-association type that allows you to form unexpected links.
LOW INTENSITY WALKING, RUNNING OR CYCLING Photo Gallery
‘This seems to be because it’s a way to augment the unconscious incubation [of ideas],’ says Martynoga. ‘Studies of creativity show that a huge part of solving creative challenges is done unconsciously. Occupying your mind by going for a walk or run while thinking about your body but not trying too hard allows you to tap into this free-roaming, idea-generating aspect of creative thought, known as divergent thinking.’
While a gentle stroll outdoors may help get your creative juices flowing, Martynoga suspects fairly moderate or low-intensity running and cycling ‘that engages your brain but doesn’t overtax it’, would have similarly beneficial effects.
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