Most people have a creative spark in them, whether they realize it or not; the key is to stimulate the creative parts of your brain in order to release that energy. Even if you’ve never considered yourself to be a creative person, chances are there’s a story, painting, or song inside you just waiting to get out.

Finding ways to release that energy can be tricky, and many people don’t know where to start. Aside from the basic word games and puzzles, there are several games and exercises you can do to open up the creative floodgates, and they’re easy as well as fun. Here are a few of the best.

  • Find an interesting photograph or piece of art and write a short story–it can be just a paragraph, if you want–about what you think is going on in the picture. Look online for ideas; you might start with an artist named Chris Van Allsburg, who creates beautiful, creepy, and bizarre pieces of art that will keep you looking because you don’t want to miss anything.
  • Write a letter or note to a friend without using the words “I”, “me”, “mine”, or “my”. It’s harder than it sounds, but this will force your brain to come up with different paths.
  • Alter the Mad Lib formula by choosing two nouns and a verb, adjective, and adverb at random. Then, take those words and create a nursery rhyme or poem around them.
  • With a pencil, fill a sheet of paper with as many circles, squares, or triangles as you can, overlapping them. Time yourself to see how many different things you can draw using only those shapes in two minutes.
  • Get the kids involved! If you have a toddler, have him draw something without telling you what it is. Trace his drawing onto a separate piece of paper (or draw right over it, if he has no objections) and turn it into whatever you see on the page.
  • Take an ordinary object–like a paper clip–and set a timer for two minutes to see how many uses you can think of for it. They can be practical or silly, such as “cufflinks”, “earrings”, “imitation mini-trombone”, “thing you use to push that emergency restart button on your router”, “keeping headphones from getting tangled up”, or “bookmark”.
  • Try some riddles.

Aside from these activities, it’s also important to think about what time of day you’ll be at your most creative. For instance, a tired brain is generally more prone to creativity than a wide awake one, so if you’re a night owl, the early morning hours might be the best time for you to try out these ideas. Lie in bed for a few minutes before getting up and let your mind wander. You never know what you’ll come up with.

Exercise has also proven in studies to be a great way to boost creative thinking. It could be all that extra blood flow to the brain; whatever it is, researchers have shown that a workout improves “divergent” thinking, or coming up with many different solutions to a problem.

Photo via Pixabay by Comfreak