In an earlier post, I promoted the idea of writing in a blue room – read the post here.
This time I want you to take a hike.
Just as science backs up the color blue as a launch pad for creativity, evidence also clearly extols the generative powers of strolling.
Can something as simple as walking really transform you into an idea-incubation machine?
4 Reasons to Take A Hike
- Give yourself a mental break
- Change your physicality
- Exercise induces eurekas
- Distance delivers dramatic solutions
Give Yourself a Mental Break
Blue rooms spark creativity because they relax you into a slightly sleepy, “first waking up” kind of state.
It’s a kind of mental shift, or break.
The same is true of any “mental break” including a quick stroll around the block (or up a mountain. Whatever 🙂
For more on mental breaks read this article from Scientific American
Change Your Physicality
Blockbuster books like Presence remind us of the power of pose. When we change our body, we change our emotions.
History is full of wise teachers who preach the message of body-mind and body-emotion connection.
By physically moving yourself from location to location, or position to position (think yoga, home fitness and Tai Chi) even if you stay the same room, you affect your current state.
For example, take this short article from Science of Us that points out studies demonstrating that gesturing with your hands while learning enhances understanding, and crossing your arms helps you persist with tough problems longer.
Get moving to get creative.
Exercise Induces Eurekas
Since we brought up the topic of physical exercise, it’s only fair to point out the mountains of evidence showing that physical exercise often prompts bursts of insight.
Not only can you look and feel great, you can think better, too.
Huffington Post wrote about the link between exercise and eureka here.
Distance Delivers Dramatic Solutions
Quick mind game: think of a current problem you are facing. Any problem will do.
Got it? Ok, good.
Now picture the problem in your mind. As soon as you have it, keep reading.
Notice how you feel about the problem. This will be important in a second.
Now, I want you to take that mental image and move it mentally far away in your mind. Move it so far away from you in your mind that the image is just a tiny spec now, just this little small thing in the distance.
How do you feel about the little tiny issue now?
Many people find that even this simple mental game diminishes the problem and their related feelings.
The point: physical (or mental) distance reframes problems in our minds – and new thoughts evoke new feelings.
When we take a hike, we “see” the challenge from afar, often with a fresh perspective conducive to fresh insights.
Here’s a scholarly PDF article about this topic.
What are you waiting for? Go take a hike. 😉