Have you ever tried really hard to come up with a solution to a problem, but no matter how hard you thought you were just stuck? Winnie the Pooh was more than just a “silly old bear.” He was actually quite wise. He would think, think, and think about a problem, but he also knew that the answer might not always come while he was thinking about it.
Studies show that just before a new idea is born there is a spike in gamma wave activity in the brain. What’s happening during this time is that lots of neurons are binding together in new and more numerous ways than usual—sort of like building a new superhighway really quickly. Once they’ve completed this massive connection making, an insight occurs.
So, how do you use this knowledge to gain new insight and become more creative? There’s a simple model of how creativity comes about which goes something like this:
- Define the problem.
- Gather information. Think, think, think. Brainstorm.
- Let it go. Relax. This is when the best ideas just come.
- Execute the idea.
Yes, although it seems counter intuitive to let go of thinking about something in order for the answer to come you, that’s exactly what you should do.
When you “let it all go” in stage 3, your brain is operating with a high degree of alpha rhythm. It’s relaxed mentally and more open to receiving new ideas. According to Daniel Goleman, “This sets the stage for the novel connections that occur during the gamma spike.”Even when we think an idea has come from nowhere, our brain has gone thru this process even if we’ve not been completely aware of it.
So how can you foster a little creativity in your life? Remember the wise words of Pooh when you have a challenging problem to solve. Concentrate for a while, then give your brain a break and take some down time.
Information for this blog can be found in: Goleman, Daniel (2011-04-12). The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights (Kindle Locations 236-238). More Than Sound LLC. Kindle Edition.