“Everyone is a genius at least once a year. A real genius has his original ideas closer together.”– Georg C. Lichtenberg
Have you ever wondered why most genial ideas, breathtaking poems and break-through discoveries are written on dinner napkins, ticket stubs, paper scraps and the palms of the hand?
It seems that genius often appears in the least expected places and the most inappropriate times. Think of the last time you had a brilliant idea or found a spontaneous solution to a problem that you had been struggling with for a long time. Where were you at that moment? In the shower? Cooking? Going down the steps? Or talking to a friend about a completely different topic?
The latest neurological research has made a few very intriguing discoveries. First of all, scientists believe that breakthroughs, insights or “aha” moments happen when the right hemisphere of our brain (called also intuitive/creative brain) is activated.
Secondly, research also indicates that in most people the left hemisphere is dominant which is responsible for analytical step-by-step thought. For example, if your right hand is dominant it would most likely mean that you rely on your rational brain more than on your creativity and lateral thinking. And while it may serve you well in some situations, you can benefit hugely from increasing your right brain activity.
Here are 9 easy-to-do activities that you can practice in order to jump start your creativity and boost your learning skills:
1. Meditate. Recent studies have made a fascinating discovery – our intelligence depends directly on the efficiency of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. What does it have to do with meditation? As it turns out meditation is one of the most effective ways to balance our rational and creative thinking and increase bilateral activity in the mind. Meditation also improves our learning ability and retention of information.
2. Go for a long walk. You have probably noticed that walking helps to get emotions under control and calm down the mind. It is not a coincidence that the majority of artists, writers, scientists and people of other creative professions love to stroll through a park or along the beach and just observe everything that happens around them. As we walk our brain alternately fires off neurons in bilateral ways and we achieve a balanced brain state.
3. Listen to the classical music. If you do not care for Mozart or Beethoven maybe you should reconsider, because the effect of baroque music, with 60 beats per minute beat pattern, is almost too good to be true. It not only activates the left and right hemispheres simultaneously, but could make you become the next Albert Eistein. I am not kidding.
The Center for New Discoveries in Learning, reports that our learning potential can be increased a minimum of five times! by using this 60 beats per minute music. Another renowned Bulgarian psychologist, Dr. George Lozanov, has proven that foreign languages can be learned with 85-100% efficiency in only thirty days by using these baroque pieces. Using his system, students could learn close to 1,000 words or phrases in one day!
4. Write your goal down with the left hand. Do you know a goal that you would like to achieve this year? Great. You have probably heard that it is important to write your goals down. Well, it is even more important to write them down with your left hand! Before breaking your goal into mini-goals, take a pen and write it down with your left hand. It is ok, if no one on Planet Earth, not even you, will be able to read it. This is not the point. The point is to activate your holistic thinking and possibly get brilliant ideas about how you can achieve your goal.
5. Have a bilateral conversation. Do you know that wise men say that all the answers to our questions are already inside of us; only we cannot get them out? This is true. There is a little exercise that can help you find the right course of action, when you are in doubt. Take a pen and with your right hand right “Hi! How are you?” Then switch to your left hand and write down the answer without thinking. Carry on a dialogue with yourself for a few minutes and as you get a little more comfortable with this practice ask the question that has been on your mind for a long time and prepare yourself for the answer… Because there really is a little Zen master inside of you.
6. Break mechanical patterns of behavior. Psychologists point out that humans are creatures of habit. In fact, 95% of what we do, we do automatically. When we perform a certain activity out of habit, our left brain is usually activated. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, gets activated when we move in an unfamiliar way. Whenever you are learning a new dance move, playing a musical instrument or doing something in a strange way, like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand – your mind switches to creative thinking.
7. Wash dishes. Agatha Christie, one of the world’s greatest mystery writers, said she got her best ideas while washing the dishes. Any routine activity (like preparing lunch, taking a shower, exercising, sweeping courtyard, or doing laundry) seems to encourage the play of imagination and activate right-brain hemisphere.
8. Read books that inspire you. It does not matter if you like reading success stories, romantic novels or science fiction. The key is that it should awaken your imagination, help you to relax and distract you from the problem at hand. And to be even more creative and spontaneous, you can pick 5 different unrelated books and read a few paragraphs from each one of them.
9. Become creative. Pablo Picasso said, “To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.” It is true. If you want to activate your creative brain, you should engage in creative activity. Make up your own song as you sing it, draw a picture of your cat, write a story, dance with your children, or make a game out of trying to see animals in the shapes of the clouds. Let your imagination run wild!
P.S. And if you want to check your progress click here http://lateralaction.com/articles/left-brain-or-right/ and look at an image of a girl. Which way does she spin? Clock-wise or counter-clockwise?