10/3/12

Three Forms of Distance that Increase Creativity: Visual, Psychological, and Physical


“Creativity is an act of discovering. They very small child, the baby, is still unselfconscious enough to take joy in discovering himself: he discovers his fingers; he gives them his complete, unselfconscious concentration.”
-“Creativity is Discovery,” Herself by Madeleine L’Engle.
Although our unique brain chemistry predisposes us to be more creative than our peers, those of us with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can also seek out techniques to enhance this skill. Three strategies that you can turn to include: Visual, Psychological, and Physical Distance.

Visual Distance
Last week’s post, “Looking Up to Creativity to Tap into Memories & the Creative Mind” describes how to enhance your recall by literally looking away from the world.
Psychological Distance
Similarly, the article “An Easy Way to Increase Creativity: Why thinking about distant things can make us more creative” by Oren Shapira and Nira Liberman in Scientific American suggests that you can encourage creative thinking by inwardly detaching yourself from your present task or conceiving your current task as outside of your present. For instance, you can imagine that it occurs in an another place or time, envision “another person’s perspective” on it, or even ask for another’s input. Shapira and Liberman write that, “psychologically near things seem more concrete.” In contrast, psychological distance allows you think more abstractly about a problem and thus the ingest material without the confines of the linear mind.

This PsyBlog offers unique exercises that will help you apply psychological distance to your present task: Boost Creativity: 7 Unusual Psychological Techniques.
Physical Distance
Alternatively, you can kindle creativity by ingesting new or foreign material. As a writer and someone who values the imagination, I am always pilfering the internet, magazines, books, museums, and films for inspiration. I tend to read the works of authors whom I admire or scour sites like DeviantArt.com, where visual artists post incredible samples of their work. Shapira and Liberman suggest that, “There are several simple steps we can all take to increase creativity, such as traveling to faraway places (or even just thinking about such places), thinking about the distant future, communicating with people who are dissimilar to us, and considering unlikely alternatives to reality.”
Creativity is a furnace that needs fodder in order to produce a flame. Often, when you can’t quite rev your creative engines, opt to change your scenery, take a walk, perch atop an overlook, or ingest artwork (such as a movie, painting, sculpture, or short story). Similar to traveling to new places or interacting with those “dissimilar to us,” these strategies will introduce you to new perspectives and ideas.

How do you stimulate your creative juices? Share your inspiration by emailing me at WriteToJulianna or commenting below.



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