Do you have writer’s block? Do you need a new way to present data or sales to your clients or coworkers? Are you trying to come up with the next best seller or fun app?
Go for a walk.
According to a new study, “a brief stroll even around your office, can significantly increase creativity.” Who knew a simple walk could be the key to your next big idea–and of course this new study was thought up while researchers were out on a walk. To test their hypothesis, the researchers had a group of undergraduate students sit in a dull room, (mimicking a boring office) and had them complete tests of creativity by coming up with ideas to use common objects in the office, like a button. After the test, the volunteers were then asked to get on a treadmill, facing a blank wall, while completing the same eight minute test. For nearly all students, the walking helped increase creativity up to about 60% more use than they had when they weren’t walking.
The researchers then thought that a scenery change, outside of the boring office, and outside on the Stanford University campus where there testing took place. Surprisingly, creativity didn’t change no matter the beautiful new scenery on the walk. The researchers concluded that “it really seems like it’s the walking that matters” and just “a brief, casual stroll alters various mental processes related to creativity.”
Through multiple studies, it has long been known that exercise improves thinking skills, showing “animals and people usually perform better after exercise on tests of memory and executive function, which is essentially the ability to make decisions and organize thoughts.” But, intense exercise can fatigue the mind mentally for a brief time, so for the creative process you don’t need to run a marathon or compete in those new spartan races–just go for a walk. Walk around your office or take a stroll around your neighborhood, and if you have any new billionaire ideas, you can thank us later.
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