How have you been feeling lately? Are you sharp and laser-focused? Or do you find yourself often getting tired, or struggling to think while working? We all identify with that second group at times, but, if that does sound like you, the good news is that there is a very simple way to enhance your creativity and improve your energy levels – take a walk!
This might sound like an obvious solution, but it now has clear scientific backing. Researchers at Stanford University recently published findings in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition on the positive effects that walking has on creativity. Here’s a quick run-down of what they found:
- Participants either walked, sat, ran or were pushed in a wheelchair. After each activity they were given a Guilford’s Alternative Uses (GAU) test (measures ability to be creative with a single word) and a Compound Remote Associates (CRA) test (a test for finding the common word that relates to three given words).
- 81% showed more creativity on the GAU after walking, but only 23% improved on the CRA. This suggests more specifically that walking is better for helping to improve divergent thinking and the creative process.
What does this mean for you? If you are in the type of role where regular creativity or problem-solving is required and you find yourself staring blankly at your screen or paper, get up and get moving. Other studies have found that removing yourself from a problem for a time gives you a higher probability of figuring out solutions: add a walk into the mix and you’re bound to re-discover your flow.
Here are some tips to fit more walking into your day:
- Do you work in an office? Try walking errands from time to time instead of emailing or phoning.
- Get into the habit of taking a lunch break and go for a walk outside during this time.
- Actually schedule in a walk break. Many self-employed/entrepreneurs out there find themselves with a whole day gone having barely moved from their laptops!
- Try walking meetings with your team. Imagine all of those creative juices flowing at once!