Surfing Brainwaves for Creativity and Performance
We all know what creativity is: a finger-painting child, a dancer in ecstasy, the sounds of Bach or Stone Temple Pilots. But it's one of those ambiguous things that's hard for us laypeople to pin down. Luckily, scientists have been studying creativity for awhile and research has shed some light.
The Imperial College in London has found that different brainwaves have different effects. Most of us are used to Beta, which is an alert state of mind typically accompanied by stress or anxiety. But with training, we can learn to lower our brainwave frequencies to Alpha and Theta, which are more relaxed and conducive to learning. Professor John Gruzelier, psychologist at Imperial, claims that Theta is ideal for creativity and enhanced performance. Experiments have proven that musicians, dancers, and surgeons who increase their Theta waves are more capable in their respective fields.
While the research at Imperial involves sophisticated equipment to stimulate Theta waves, you can achieve this on your own. Meditation, though tossed around a lot, is a simple way to relax, improve focus, and surf those creative brainwaves! You'll also get the added benefits of enlarging parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate, associated with learning, memory, emotional control, and seeing different perspectives.
Meditation: a simple process
There are tons of ways to meditate, but here's a simple step-by-step process. To fully reap the benefits, make this a daily commitment of at least 15 minutes:
1) Find a quiet place. Turn off your phone, and if you need to, let people know that this is YOUR time.
2) Get into a comfortable posture. Avoid lying down, as it's easy to fall asleep.
3) Relax your muscles and release as much tension as you can. Tightening a muscle group for a minute and loosening it is an easy way to do this.
4) Close or relax your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply, using your diaphragm to expand your stomach. Breathe slowly.
5) Choose an object of focus. This can be your breath, a sound or word (mantra, such as Om), a prayer, or an object you stare at. Use what feels right, just make sure to devote your WHOLE attention to it. Thoughts will naturally come to distract you. Don't be aggressive, just gently refocus. Practice makes perfect.
Once in your meditative state, you can then listen to your inner voice and allow new ideas to surface. Simply practicing this 5 Step Process, though, will have great benefits on its own.
Matthew Koren unleashes the leadership potential in your people so teams can thrive. He is based out of Portland, OR. To learn more about his programs, click here. To receive great, useful content each month, sign up for his email list here. To discuss how Matt can support you, your organization, and teams, contact him today!