Curiosity and Creativity

Did you know?


Right-brain dominant people tend to be more sensitive to deeper emotions, tolerant of alternative points of view, and empathetic to others.


The Creative Right Brain

When we talk of “brain power” we tend to think of the precise, logical, analytical left brain. But the right side of the brain—our creative center—has just as vital a role to play, and it needs nurturing and support, too! Our right brain is responsible for visualization, “big picture thinking,” intuition, and processing multiple ideas at once. Exercising one’s imagination is considered a right brain activity. When we imagine through free association, daydreaming, and play, we generate original ideas and unusual, creative solutions to complex problems. Some of the greatest contributions to our world—those that make it more beautiful, meaningful and fulfilling—stem from right-brained thinking. This includes music, art, architecture, storytelling, and more.


Innovations and discoveries in traditional left-brained fields such as the sciences, math, and technology are very dependent upon right brain processes, such as the ability to be flexible when confronted with new or unexpected information, to strategize, and to conceptualize. In fact, writers like Daniel Pink—author of A Whole New Mind—argue that the future belongs to right brainers—those that are inventive, sympathetic, and meaning predominant. 


Curiosity . . . It Leads Us Down New Paths

Curiosity is not just for our childhood years. It’s a trait we should actively cultivate throughout our lives. As Einstein said, “the important thing is not to stop questioning.” A hunger to learn and acquire new skills is integral to staying mentally sharp and engaged. Make it your policy to learn something new every week, if not every day. When you are presented with new information that challenges your biases, beliefs, and conventional ways of doing things, resist the impulse to judge and reject. Take a step back and consider the advantages of different ways of thinking.  


Tips for Stimulating the Right Brain:

Right brain activities and exercises are geared to increasing rapid thought processes, musical aptitude, creative visualization, and intuition. Here are a few tips for stimulating your right brain:


• Cultivate active awareness. When taking a walk, pay special attention to everything you see and hear along the way. When you get to the end of the street, try to recount for yourself the impressions and observations you made. Did any of these thoughts trigger a unique association or image?


• Try some “neurobic” exercises like eating, using the computer mouse, or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.


• Enhance your sensual awareness. Learn to “multi-sense”—use two or more senses when interacting with the outer world. For example, when you’re chatting with someone, listen intently to what they’re saying while simultaneously observing the color of their hair and eyes, the clothes they’re wearing, what’s going on in the background behind them, etc. And explore different sensual experiences—a new cuisine, an art exhibit or genre of music, a new style of clothing or hairstyle, etc.


• Keep a daily journal. Try stream of consciousness writing. This is unstructured, unedited writing where you simply record your observations or feelings in the moment. Don’t concern yourself with grammar, sentence structure, or eloquence . . . just write.


• Daydream. Did you know that there is a strong correlation between fantasy proneness and intelligence? Staring out the window in reverie is a good thing, and some of our greatest inventions have occurred within the context of daydreaming and imaginative speculation.


• Try Creative Visualization Exercises.


Practice mindfulness.


• Reawaken your spirit of play. We become more cautious as we grow older, more self-conscious and sensitive to slights or criticism. To engage in spontaneous play seems childish and a waste of time. But some of the greatest left and right brain discoveries have occurred within the context of play, exploration, and uninhibited curiosity.


• Break an old habit or get rid of something superfluous. Then, try something new that makes you feel a little bit insecure, that takes you outside your comfort zone.


Find ways to relax and be open, such as prayer, meditation, and regular brain breaks.


• Healthy minds support creativity. Remember, a creative mind is a healthy mind supported by good habits and brain nutrition. 



Check out Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. This artist’s “bible” contains many thought-provoking and inspiring exercises geared to getting the creative juices flowing.