Enhancing Creativity

There are a number of things you can do to enhance your creativity and problem-solving [1]. Try some of the following tips, but you may also want to experiment for yourself or find some more tips online.

Pay Attention to the Basics

Regular exercise, a good diet, staying hydrated and, most importantly, getting good sleep will all boost your creativity and ability to solve problems [2]; [3].

Leave Your Workspace

When we are stuck on a problem it can be tempting to stay at our desks and push ourselves to try to find a solution. But finding a new solution means generating new ideas and to do that our brain needs to make new associations and view the problem in a different way. Staying where you are can keep you stuck in a trance, becoming more and more frustrated. Leaving the room and going for a walk can help you to break the trance, free up your thoughts and find new solutions [4]; [5].

Use Incubation

The unconscious part of our brain is more powerful than the conscious part. This means that you can sometimes find solutions to the problem by not consciously thinking about it. Get the problem clear in your own mind and then put your attention somewhere else – it may help, for instance to go to the gym or play music. When you come back to the problem later you may find solutions bubbling to the front of your mind [6].

Do Something in an Unusual Way

As we said above – to create something new you have to get your brain to view things in a novel way. You can help your brain to get into this state of mind by doing something you usually do in a new and unusual way. For instance, in one study researchers showed participants a video of someone making a sandwich – one group saw a video of someone making a sandwich in the normal way and the second a video of someone making a sandwich in an unusual way. The participants who watched the second video were able to generate more creative ideas immediately afterwards [7]. Try this by, for instance, making a cup of coffee by putting the water in first or changing your make up routine or by finding a version of your own.

Dance – or Walk or Run

Physical movement can help to stimulate and move our thoughts. Exercise can make you more creative in the long term and can give you a short term boost when you are stuck on a particular problem [8].

Practice Interleaving

You can train your brain to become better at making connections by deliberately practising interleaving – moving between different subjects and ideas and looking for connections between them. This will provide you with more ways of approaching a problem and make you better at seeing alternative solutions (Roediger & Pyc, 2012).



Hughes, G., & Wilson, C. (2017). From Transcendence to General Maintenance: Creativity and Wellbeing in Higher Education.


Curcio, G., Ferrara, M., & De Gennaro, L. (2006). Sleep loss, learning capacity and academic performance. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 10, 323–337. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2005.11.001


Owen, Corfe, L., & Bernard. (2017). Article The role of diet and nutrition on mental health and wellbeing. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665117001057


Kim, S., Park, Y., & Niu, Q. (2017). Micro-break activities at work to recover from daily work demands. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(1), 28–44. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2109


Zhu, Z., Kuykendall, L., & Zhang, X. (2019). The impact of within-day work breaks on daily recovery processes: An event-based pre-/post-experience sampling study. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 92(1), 191–211. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12246


Carson, S. (2010). Your creative brain : seven steps to maximize imagination, productivity, and innovation in your life. Jossey-Bass.


Ritter, S. M., Kühn, S., Müller, B. C. N., van Baaren, R. B., Brass, M., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2014). The Creative Brain: Corepresenting Schema Violations Enhances TPJ Activity and Boosts Cognitive Flexibility. Creativity Research Journal, 26(2), 144–150. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2014.901061


Slepian, M. L., & Ambady, N. (2012). Fluid Movement and Creativity. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0027395