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How can you be in creative flow on a daily basis?
At some point in your life, I know you have felt the magic of creative flow. You’ve been completely immersed in your activity, not knowing exactly what were the triggers for your creative flow.
You can recreate the conditions that led you to that inner place of oneness, and flow. It doesn’t have to happen at random. Creative flow can be tapped into at will.
Find your creative triggers
A trigger is a stimulus, something that sets off a response. This can be an action or a thought. You have some set patterns of thought and behavior already in place, they are your response to triggers in your environment and your every day.
If something happens that’s perceived by your senses as a trigger, a chain reaction of behavior and thoughts will follow. This knowledge is what you can use in your favor.You have the power to create your own triggers and the actions and behaviors that will be generated as a response. Tweet Me
Your unique creative triggers are the queues that will signal your creative habits to kick in.
A creative trigger can be:
- visualizing a positive memory
- apply a sensory stimulus (music, smells, textures, visuals)
- revisit a positive emotion
- pondering a question or solving a simple problem
- engaging in physical activity (walking)
- setting time for a meditation session
Embrace a creative mindset
Creating the triggers and cultivating the habits of thought and behavior that put you in creative flow will require you to embrace a creative mindset.
Remember that these new powerful triggers need to be personal and authentic. They must mean something to you to evoke the creative response that will follow.
To create your collection on creative triggers you must dive deep. Answer the following Q’s:
- What positive memory can you recall to put yourself into a creative mood?
- What type of music could be on the playlist you put on a listen to while you prepare for your creative work?
- Which positive emotion can you engage with to inspire your day, week, month, creative session?
- What question can you ask yourself to get the mind to focus on productive thoughts?
- Is walking a thought-producing idea for you?
- Could you meditate for a couple of minutes to focus your mind and body in the present moment and channel your creativity?
These self-assessing questions will point you in the direction of the triggers that might put you in a state of creative flow. Not by a miracle; by action.
(Examples of triggers based on each of the above questions waiting for you further down the post.)
Reframe old triggers and patterns
You already have triggers in your creative life. Instead of coming up with new things, sounds or smells, why not use the ones you already engage with every day, but work on changing your response.
Let’s say every time you feel overwhelmed about a project you’re working on your response is to turn on the T.V, binge-watch Netflix, go to YouTube or dive into your FB or IG feed.
Instead, pause, pick a new creative response. One great response that you can trigger when feeling overwhelmed is journaling. Before jumping on Netflix, grab a journal specifically set for this purpose, and placed within reach. Write about the feelings that are coming up, in paragraph or bullet form.
This creative activity with counter your negative emotion with a feeling of creative flow. You are doing something, you are engaging, you are flowing. In the case of overwhelm, journaling, in particular, will allow you space to gain perspective on those feelings and generate objective solutions.When your current trigger is something tangible, like an object around your house, instead of following the same pattern of thought, put a new creative pattern on top. Tweet Me
For example, every time you walk in your living room you see the stain a clumsy guest left on your white sofa last Christmas. Your old (very understandable) response has been frowning and feeling upset that you were left with a stain on your otherwise spotless living room.
Why not use the stain as a trigger for a more positive and creative thought pattern?
What if, when you get a glimpse of said stain, you practice thinking of the imperfect perfection of life. Things that get used and enjoyed also get worn and damage. Stains are part of life. How has that stain made your home a living space? How can life’s little imperfections inspire you?
Dipping one toe into the flow
If there’s one crucial requirement to make this work is to take it slow. Don’t try to work on transforming all your old triggers and patterns at once. Don’t try to incorporate too many new triggers either.Think of creative flow like a steady stream of water, a coursing river. Jumping right in might seem exciting, but it can backfire. Better to dip one toe at a time, test the strength of the current. Tweet Me
Start with implementing one or two of the ten creative triggers I offer in this post, and see how it feels.
Ease yourself into flow each time, and each time will become easier. Then you’ll find you can flow right along with your creative habits into a consistently creative life.
Your 10 triggers to get creatively flowing:
1. Feel overwhelmed
- It’s the signal to pick up your self-check-in journal and get writing.
- What is the thought creeping through your brain?
- What situation, comment or thought might be causing this emotion?
- Let’s make a list of all the things that are causing you this feeling of overwhelm and a counter list of solutions. Are there items on your “overwhelming list” that could (and should) be crossed off?
2. Walk into a room that smells like _________
If you sense a smell you dislike, dig into the reason why. Once you pinpoint the source of your emotion, get creative!
- What nasty character in a short story could smell like that?
- Name that smell! make it a game to put a name, features, and personality to the smell.
If you sense a smell you like and enjoy, let yourself be drawn to it.
- What positive memory does it recall?
- How much detail can you remember from that time and place?
- How does that memory make you feel?
- Who was with you at the time? What significant impact did that person had/has in your life?
- If you were to write a letter to that person, what would you say? (write it!) Let the smell and memory inspire you.
3. Feel confused
Confusion is a signal that your inner focus and creative flow has been interrupted or lost. Don’t panic! This is a good thing.
Proceed to get clarity with the powerful tool of list-making.
- What might be causing this confusion? Do you need to take a look at your why, your higher purpose, your mantra, or weekly theme?
- Do you need to reassess your goals and realign them with your objectives for the day, week, or month?
- Is the confusion coming from within or are you letting yourself be swooped by other people around you?
4. Get a negative comment
A negative comment is bound to happen sooner or later. It might pop up on a daily basis. Excellent! this is the moment to practice a quick boost of inner strength with a meditation session.
- Think “Wabi-Sabi” and moved on from the need to be liked and followed by everyone, especially that person.
- Practice gratitude, and thank said person and his/her comment for the opportunity to check yourself and your ego.
5. Are stuck / feel blocked
This feeling or physical sensation is your queue to move.
- Stand up and stretch.
- Go for a walk or run.
- Practice some low-impact activity, like yoga
- Clean and organize your workspace, your office, your house…tackling outside clutter is a great strategy for opening up inner creative space. The sense of accomplishment alone will lead you right into a sense of flow.
6. Feel outside your comfort zone
Make this uncomfortable feeling your signal to think:
- “I’m at the right place” or “This is the place I ought to be.”
- “I’m breaking into my best self.”
- “Every small step forward counts.”
- “Today is one for the victory books.”
- “I’m embracing my higher purpose.”….these or any other self-empowering mantra will work.
7. Are alone
Alone means time for self-care without outside interruptions!
Have a pre-planned set of activities to do when you get the gift of time alone.
For some creative self-care tips and rituals, I highly recommend my friends @CreateBeing, follow them, get inspired and get resources to cultivate your alone time, a time to get to know YOU.
8. Are in a room full of people
Social situations can be stressful, noise is a form of pollution…when you find yourself in an overactive environment, and particularly if this is not sitting well with you and your emotions, this is a signal to go.
- Go get some air, step away from that space, make some room for yourself in a corner, the hall or the bathroom.
- Return to your breath and have some breathing exercises ready.
- The technique of breathing in love and letting something go can be very effective in this crowded and noisy situation.
- Remember why you are there. If the reason is compelling enough, (you are given a talk, are attending a networking event, are exhibiting at an expo), focus on the goal, bring your attention to the small radius around you, take the opportunity to connect.
9. Hear a song you like
This creative trigger is one of my favorites, as you have total control over your playlist.
You don’t have to wait for a serendipitous song to be played on the radio, or the be the next to shuffle on Pandora or Spotify.
You can create your playlist of inspirational songs; songs that feel you with energy, great vibes, and put you in the right mood to feel and be creative.
10. Recall a memory
I’ve talked about memories of smells, people, times and places… I had to say it again, and you need to make it intentional.
- You can make an old memory spark a new idea.
- You can use your memory to travel to a time where everything seemed possible, and remember that everything still is.
- Memory is time traveling. Is harnessing the power of your life experience.
- Let memory be a trigger for self-discovery and exploration.
Give these triggers a try, use them to signal new habits, make the choice to engage with a positive response, and enjoy the feeling of intentional creative flow every day!
What are some of the triggers that are keeping you off your creative flow? Share them below and let’s see how we can turn them into creative triggers!