A Surprising Way to Boost Creativity in Your Life and Marriage

Happy Life: Happy Marriage Series

Researchers have found a surprising path to boosting creativity:  Allow yourself to be bored. Think about it. When you finally allow yourself quiet time to shower, take a walk or a drive, garden or just sit in thought, creativity tends to strike in the form of a new idea or a solution to a nagging problem. (And by nagging problem, I don’t mean your wife.)

“Boredom is linked to creativity,” said Genevieve Bell, PhD, an anthropologist and director of interaction and experience research at Intel.  She adds that when we are constantly consuming media with all of our mobile devices—iPads, Kindles, smart phones, etc.—we don’t allow our brains enough time to develop new ideas. Even standing in line, we’re making calls or playing Angry Birds. It’s no wonder our lives feel so chaotic.

I enjoy spending most of my workday in silence to keep distractions to a minimum. Others think music is just the boost they need. Allowing your body to move while your mind is free may be an even better idea. Whether it’s gazing at nature, or gazing at our navels, we don’t have to feel guilty about these seemingly unproductive activities, as they just might precede a great idea.

Bell says we need to take time to stop and reflect, carve out technology-free time at work and at home, and unplug on weekends and vacations. Enjoy spending time with loved ones, doing nothing in particular.

Find Creative Marriage Solutions

Creativity boosts can obviously help us in our work and personal challenges, but they can also be used to solve problems in your marriage or family. For instance, if you’ve been arguing over two alternatives with your spouse, you may not see a third alternative that would satisfy you both. Without giving yourselves time to reflect, you may not even consider other options. Be creative, and consider every single possible solution.

Sometimes couples get in a funk and aren’t even sure why. Allowing your brain time to think without outside distractions can sometimes clarify the issues. Perhaps one person is feeling unappreciated or unsatisfied in their work, and they are projecting their frustrations on the marriage. We can’t begin to solve our problems without seeing them clearly, and we can’t see them clearly without down time to sort through our internal frustrations.

Don’t use all your downtime to focus on your problems, though. It would be much more helpful to use that downtime to focus on what you are grateful for, and to consider your spouse’s best attributes. Keeping these positive thoughts present in your mind will boost your marriage.

The research is a bit surprising in one way, though. Previously, I have read that boredom is terrible for marriages, and that we should work to do new, exciting, and fun activities together. I still think this is advocated and can tremendously help bond a couple. However, some alone time with nothing planned, or even some couple time to just hang out, can be very fruitful in a strange way. If you use that time to cuddle on the couch or connect about real issues rather than be bombarded with distractions, it’s an investment in the marriage, not a detriment. But then make time to plan something exciting as well.

Michele Weiner-Davis, a bestselling author and marriage counselor, has said one of her key pieces of advice for couples to improve their marriage is simply to spend more time together. However, it’s not really time spent together if one of you is updating her Facebook status every 15 minutes and the other is checking college football scores during dinner. Spend more dedicated time with the one you married, and it will pay dividends.

Do you have a tech-free room or designated time at your home? Do you experience any boredom in your day, or is it packed with activity from the time you rise until the time you hit the pillow?

Read this thoughtful post from Simple Marriage called “We have trouble communicating.” It’s not that we have trouble communicating, it’s that we have trouble with the message our spouse is communicating.

Photo by Graur Codrin courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Source for post: BNET.com

9 responses to “A Surprising Way to Boost Creativity in Your Life and Marriage

  1. This is great advice for creative work, for marriage and for parenting. We’re highly knowledge-driven, so it can be difficult to slow down and let boredom set in. But when I’m caught in traffic or on an airplane, I’m surprised by the freedom to breathe more deeply and see things in new ways. Even info junkies need time out to sift through the mental clutter.

    • I so agree with you, Heidi. I can be an info junkie sometimes but there is relief when I have a few minutes to breathe deeply and think without distraction.

  2. This is fascinating, I kind of try to battle boredom but I guess you should let it come and see if a creative spark starts because of it. And, to make sure we spend time without my lap top and without his toy just to relax without the electronic distractions.

  3. Sarah, let me know if making these changes sparks your creativity. I’ll be interested to see if it makes a difference for you. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Happy Hour | The Romantic Vineyard

  5. You might think this is weird, but I don’t have a radio in my car. I know! Crazy! And I don’t bring an MP3 player in the car, either. When I am driving, I am alone with my thoughts. I can think, reflect, pray, sing to myself, and think some more. I have come to really enjoy those times. If I ever drive my husband’s car and turn on the radio I start feeling frazzled and have to turn it off.
    I think we all should turn everything off once in a while. It’s good for the soul.

  6. I don’t think it’s wierd if it gives you the solitude you are seeking. Sounds like an effective solution to a busy world.

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