99% of your brain activity is responsible for your creativity. The trouble is that you are only likely to be aware of the other 1%!

Research suggests that all of your conscious thought (language, problem-solving, senses etc)  makes up less than 1% of your brain activity. So while the old saying that “you only use 10% of your brain” is most definitely false, it’s amazing that the vast majority of your brain activity is actually going on without you knowing about it.

The generation of new ideas is one thing which happens under wraps . Ideas are generated when your brain takes existing knowledge and memories, and forms a new neural connection which did not previously exist, thereby linking together and building on concepts in a new way, which sometimes generates a solution to a challenge (a new idea).

Your brain works at varying levels during the course of a day. The linking of new neural connections (and hence the generation of ideas) happens best when your brain is in a  more relaxed state . If you are extremely focused on something,  then these activities actually put your brain in a higher level of activity and require greater energy resources. This in turn hinders your brain’s ability to form new connections and generate ideas. So if you work long hours or remain focused for long periods of time  you’re harming you brain’s ability to come up with creative ideas. It is this idea of being relaxed/focused behaviour that has partly led to the creation of the left brain/right brain model.

To improve your idea generation ability, it is therefore important to give your mind an opportunity to get into a relaxed state. Many of history’s eureka moments  have occurred  when no one was expecting them due to their mind being elsewhere. Using brain scans, scientists have been able to show that our brains are more able to generate ideas and come up with better solutions to problems when it has been rested. Here are just a few things that might help your brain attain that relaxed state:

  • Sleeping
  • Showering
  • Exercising
  • Daydreaming
  • Doing anything that  lets your mind wander

So whilst you might not be conscious of how much of your brain you use you are actually using all of it and by relaxing a little you might get better at generating ideas. Give it a try!

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