As an artist, your creativity is an invaluable quality that you hold near and dear. It’s something that sets you apart from other people, and is something that is integral to your identity. However, neglecting your creativity can actually result in weakening it– almost like a muscle, your creativity is something you must exercise and take care of to preserve. Creativity has even been proven to be a teachable skill, meaning that if it can be acquired, it can also be lost. Here are the top three habits that are certain to kill creativity.

Brooding

One of the most dangerous thought patterns to creativity is brooding, or the act of getting lost in deeply negative thought. A study found that between two types of self-focused rumination, brooding was directly linked with dysphoria, whereas self-reflective pondering was linked only to creativity. Since brooders tend to focus on only one type of thought– the negative ones– they actually shut out intrusive thoughts that could lead to a creative endeavor. Next time you find yourself in a creative rut, or suffering from a creative block, try keeping an open and positive mindset instead of falling into a negative cycle of brooding. The mindset in which you handle your creative obstacles may significantly alter their result.

Keeping Too Busy

While staying relatively busy can encourage a stable routine among other benefits, being too rushed can actually have a negative effect on overall happiness. Even further, being too busy can be a major creativity killer. Creativity is most encouraged in situations that allow one’s mind to wander, and research has shown that productive creative thinking is best borne out of a mix of idle thinking and linear task-oriented thinking. According to research, it is easier to complete a difficult task after completing a simpler task that invokes mind-wandering. The mix between letting idle thoughts come to you and then applying this creative surge to more linear tasks is a balance that will bring about the most productive creative results.

Suppressing Thoughts

The biggest creativity killer is suppressing thoughts that randomly come to you. Creativity is most exercised through associative thinking, which is when you allow your mind to freely wander and associate different ideas. More creative thinkers will welcome random thoughts that non-creative may label as intrusive. With inviting such thoughts in, instead of suppressing them, you are able to ponder and associate various ideas, which will be more likely to result in creative breakthroughs as opposed to those who immediate reject such thoughts or brood over one specific idea. Allowing thoughts to freely come and go is also why letting your mind wander is vital in promoting creativity. By carving out time in your schedule to indulge in mind-wandering, and through pondering the thoughts that come to you during this time instead of negatively brooding over them, will encourage and strengthen your overall creativity.

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