Have you ever found yourself in a meeting with some ‘bad moods’ in the room? Or perhaps you have been that person who has felt a bit flat? In a recent ideation workshop I noticed one person who appeared a little down and withdrawn. They struggled to contribute ideas and also impacted the group dynamic. We all have our down days from time to time, however we don’t often realise how our moods impact our ability to think or do work.
Research has shown that our emotional state has a big impact on our ability to think creatively. For example, a study undertaken at Pennsylvania State University found that on average, happy people generated 50% more ideas than sad people.
When people feel down they become more detailed orientated and cannot perform at their peak creativity. On the other hand, when we are happy, the level of a neuro-transmitting chemical called dopamine increases. In the frontal lobe, dopamine controls the flow of information to other parts of the brain. This is so important to creative thinking because it opens up connections between different and loosely associated concepts in the brain. Such connections allow for the formation of new ideas.
If you want to increase your creative ability start by lifting your positive energy and ‘putting a smile on your dial’! Here are some proven ways of how to do this before embarking on an idea generation task:
* Spend a minute thinking about something that makes you really happy.
* Watch an episode of a comedy or short clip that you like.
* Pay close attention to your moods and only work on creative tasks when you are feeling happy.
If you are running a problem solving meeting, the above activities can be used in a team setting before embarking upon idea generation.