Why Your Creative Mind Works The Best In The Cafe

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Getting away from the house, office or regular workspace has an amazing effect on the creative mind. But even for those with the freedom to work from anywhere, creativity soars highest in a particular place- cafes and coffee shops.

Historically, some of the greats artists, writers and musicians frequented cafes to ponder on great ideas and cultivate their creative energy. Now they’ve become a hotbed for modern creatives such as entrepreneurs, graphic designers and even DJ s. Yet most of us are still not completely sure exactly why we gravitate towards our favorite cafes.

Some say it’s the whiff of freshly brewed coffee and getting a caffeine fix that fires up creative juices. While others claim there’s something unique about the atmosphere, an ambiance that compliments the creative mind. In actual fact, science has found some interesting links between creativity and cafes, some of which may surprise you!

In actual fact, science has drawn some interesting links between cafes and creativity, some of which may surprise you!

Silence Sharpens Focus – Ambient Noise Boosts Creativity

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You may already be aware that working in silence environments helps you focus. When you are in the midst of complicated problem solving or performing fine detailed work, one annoying noise is enough to break our concentration.

However, when it comes to creative thinking, ambient noise has been seen to improve creativity. Specifically, typical coffee shop ambient noise of 70 decibels was seen to be optimum. Whereas quieter than 50dB and louder than 85dB caused creativity to drop off.

It’s believed this level of moderate ambient noise is just enough to distract us, allowing us to think outside the box. This helps to broaden to thinking and lends itself to the discovery of new ideas. So, the creative magic in the air of your favorite coffee shop is actually the perfect ambient hum for your creative mind.

You should optimize your creativity by choosing your coffee shop wisely, based on how busy or noisy it is. If you are tied to a workspace and it’s particularly quiet, try listening to Creativity background music from Youtube. Otherwise, there’s an ingenious application that can mimic the cafe’s ambient noise called Coffitivity.

Dynamic Environments Stimulate Creativity

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Ever noticed how creativity dries up if you remain in the same environment or routine for too long? It’s only when you break the cycle or change your environment that the bolt of creativity strikes.

The mind is naturally inclined to tune out repeat input, while remaining receptive to new information. So, by moving from a static environment to a dynamic one, you flood the mind with new inputs and stimulate creativity. Visiting a cafe is great for firing up inspiration as you watch new faces and interactions happening around you.

Low-level distractions from the bustle of others actually help fuel creative thoughts. Whereas the silence and solitude of home or the office often push us to non-creative procrastination. Cafes strike just the right balance of simulation buzz with the protection of anonymity, interactions are on your own terms.

There’s also a social element that plays a significant role. If you’re open, cafes are a great place to meet and interact with new people. These brief exchanges of ideas, experiences and perspectives ignite creativity.

Your positioning is somewhat crucial, whether in the cafe or your own workspace. The last thing you want to do is position yourself right in a high traffic point, so don’t sit by the cash register or a door. You want the opportunity to observe or interact, but it has to be on your own terms.

Dim Lighting Liberates the Mind and Imagination

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Yet again, absolute focus and free-flowing creativity are set at odds. Brighter lighting favors focus-based tasks but research has shown dimmer lighting actually boosts creativity.

The most curious thing is, creatively was seen to increase across six separate studies, even without conscious recognition of this change. So it’s believed dimmer environments make us feel freer to explore and take risks without judgment. It’s so powerful that even recalling an experience of darkness can have similar creativity boosting effects.

So, if your creative workspace is bright, dimming the lights to create a more ambient environment would be very beneficial. You could use light blinds on the windows and shaded lamps for softer lighting. Or if you are visiting a coffee shop, pick the deepest, darkest corner for creative pondering!

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Day 5: On-The-Go Meditation Challenge

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Day 5: How To Snap Out Of A Bad Mood

Learn to change what something means for you and identify something positive about the situation.

Why it Matters

One reason we often feel angry, frustrated, or stressed is because we’re thinking negative thoughts. Usually, our bad mood is tied to an external event. Something has happened that we think shouldn’t have happened. Or something is not happening that we think should happen.

Negative thoughts impact your emotions. In turn, your emotions skew your biochemical and endocrine systems. When you learn how to manage your moods better, you become wiser about how to manage your life.

How do you turn off a negative cascade of emotions, biochemical distress signals, and stress hormones? Try this 5-minute guided meditation:

5-Minute Guided Meditation

Think of a situation that is bothering you. Identify the underlying emotion. Is it fear, anger, or frustration? Now, decide to interpret this situation in another way. Ask for the lesson in the situation. Ask how you can turn things around for the better or how you can practice detachment in the midst of chaos. By asking the right question, you begin to see the situation in a new way.

Usually, we are upset about other people or ourselves. While you can’t control other people, you can use their negative behavior as a cue to improve yourself. Or, if you’re angry at yourself for making a mistake, use it as a lesson to improve how you will manage things better in the future. Interestingly, what was upsetting you may now become a source of inspiration.

Make Meditation A Habit

With the new information and strategies you’ve gained throughout this challenge, you have enough to get you started with meditation on the go. Once you succeed at making it a habit, the benefits you’ll reap will be more than enough to motivate you to stick with it!

Featured photo credit: Paul Dennis via flickr.com

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Day 4: On-The-Go Meditation Challenge

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Day 4: Conscious Breathing Restores Calm

Can’t keep up? Pause and take a few deep breaths.

Why it Matters

You can always use breath to calm you down and get perspective. In fact, breathing is often referred to in a metaphorical way. If you feel stressed, you might say that you need to catch your breath. If you feel euphoric, you might say that something or someone takes your breath away.

Breathing meditation is subtle but powerful. This is because the breath calms the autonomic nervous system. When you pay attention to how you’re breathing, you can change it, and when you do, you instantly calm down.

5-Minute Guided Meditation

Notice your inhale and exhale. Pay attention to the sensation in your nostrils as the breath enters and leaves your body. Now add an affirmation to the inhale and exhale. For instance: “Breathing in, I am calm. Breathing out, I feel happy.” Finally, once you’ve created a pattern, connect your inhale with your exhale in a continuous loop. This will energize you. You may even feel your body tingle. In a continuous loop, you do not pause after an inhale or an exhale.

The nice thing about breathing meditation is that you can do it without anyone noticing. You can be an island of tranquility in a heated meeting that is bristling with quarreling people.

Featured photo credit: Chilangoco via flickr.com

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Day 3: On-The-Go Meditation Challenge

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Day 3: A Quick Way To Change Your Self-Talk

Practice self-love by talking to yourself like a nurturing parent.

Why it Matters

On-the-go-meditation can be as simple as changing your thoughts and feelings. One way to do this is to change your self-talk. Psychologists have often told us that we’re a collection of composite psychological selves. Eric Berne, the founder of Transactional Analysis, said that our inner dialog often resembles a conversation between a parent and child.

Essentially, we have internalized the conversations our parents had with us and assume a childlike attitude. There is the mature and rational part of us, and the irrational and emotional aspect. For many people, these internal conversations focus on correcting behavior. Today, we may still scold ourselves for making mistakes, talking to ourselves in a derogatory way.

5-Minute Guided Meditation

Close your eyes and imagine your family home. See either your mother or father and yourself as a child. Recreate your current dilemma as a dialog. Now imagine your inner parent notices your hurt feelings and softens their approach. Change the conversation to one that is kind, gentle, and encouraging.

The next time you encounter a stressful situation, recreate this imaginary scene. It can now be done in seconds. What encouraging words can you say to help your inner child do things better? Self-compassion instantly calms you and helps you find solutions.

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Day 2: On-The-Go Meditation Challenge

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Day 2: Simple Steps For Instant Mindfulness

Practice 5-Minute Guided Meditation

Why it matters

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment. It’s about being aware of your body sitting in a chair or moving in space and time. It’s about noticing your thoughts and feelings with detachment by putting them into perspective.

How do you become mindful? Pay attention to what you’re doing and do everything with intense curiosity. If, for instance, you’re sipping coffee, imagine you’ve never drunk coffee before. Marvel at the contours of the perfect cup in your hand and relish each sip.

Here is a quick meditation to help you experience a sense of mindfulness and put your problems into perspective:

5-Minute Guided Meditation

Close your eyes, pay attention to your body, and notice your feelings. Now, describe what is causing these feelings.

Once you’ve found your feelings and their cause, jump into an imaginary timeline. Imagine you are five years old. How does the problem look to you? Now describe it from a child’s perspective. Next, fast-forward 10 years into the future. Does the problem even matter?

After your five minute meditation, journal about the two different perspectives. Remember that you don’t need to use mindfulness only when you’re upset. It even works when things are going well for you. Mindfulness makes good things even better.

Featured photo credit: Dingzeyu Li via images.unsplash.com

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Day 1: On-The-Go Meditation Challenge

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When you have agitated thoughts about anything, it spikes up the stress hormone, cortisol. Walking is a way to calm down and lower your cortisol levels. However, walking alone is not enough to calm down much. That is, unless you transform your walk into a meditation practice.

The Quiet Power Of Walking Meditation

As you walk, appreciate what is happening around you; drink in the sights, sounds, and colors. Appreciate the coordination of your arms and legs.  Also, become aware of what it’s like to lift your foot up and set it down with each step. Notice the gentle pressure you feel in your heels and toes with each step. Pay attention to the sensation of your clothes touching your body.

It’s easy to practice this walking meditation. You can even use this on-the-go meditation instead of rushing around at work. By changing your focus from inner turmoil to your senses, you will calm down because you will begin to feel grounded in the present moment.

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Tip #7: Eat Less Processed Food

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Today’s Tip

Make a list of the ingredients in your current favorite foods.

Why it matters?

A majority of us won’t be aware of the ingredients in most of the foods we regularly consume. Once you make a list, you will quickly realize how much processed garbage you’re poisoning yourself with on a daily basis. Then, once you know which foods are the culprits, it’s easier to substitute or eliminate them from your diet completely.

Today’s Processed-food Alternative

Today’s recipe is a treat since it’s our final day: Chocolate-Cherry Snack Bars

To summarize our advice on avoiding processed foods

It’s common knowledge that processed foods are bad for us. Unfortunately, it’s not common knowledge that many modern products are heavily processed. However, if you follow the tips we’ve provided, you will find that avoiding such unhealthy foodstuffs in the future should be a lot easier. As a result, your overall health will quickly improve.

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