Are you ready for a wonderful adventure of developing a creative space that helps unleash imagination? Did you know that living in an environment that contains certain creative principles can actually activate your imagination, connectivity and productivity? It’s not too far from belief. You can learn and implement these creative design principles without a degree in design and practice improving your living space.
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When I first came across these principles, while I knew that I couldn’t apply all of them I could at least apply a few. By paying attention I’ve been able to make livable spaces that research has shown help to bring out more creativity and productivity. Apparently, our surroundings play a bigger role in our inner life than many realize. Ready to learn more? Let’s jump in.
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What I learned from the book My Creative Space
When I first picked up My Creative Space by Donald Rattner, I knew it was going to be a good book to keep around and bought it a little bit later. It’s one of those books sometimes I read whole chapters, sometimes I just skim and sometimes I just look at the pictures. I’m fascinated by the thinking behind a well designed living space.
This fascination isn’t new. When I was a little girl, I would go to the library and take out books on home design and make photocopies at the library of my favorite style rooms. My little kid organized self kept these in a file folder in my room and I’d look at them from time to time. I couldn’t have been older than around 9 or 10 at the time.
One of my favorite hobbies was keeping my room neat and clean and organized. Sometimes, I’d go to a friend’s house and begin to put their bookshelves in order much to their dismay! Ha! I totally resonated with Marie Kondo when she came on the scene, but I too love mess. I love putting a mess into order and making something rather boring beautiful and interesting.
I have no formal education in design or even much study in the area, but this book comes the closest to that. Rattner’s 2019 book is a study of the psychology of space. In it he unpacks how the science of creativity is closely linked to environment as well as human behaviors. He gives a guide for how space can help unleash imagination and creativity into our lives.
Here’s what the book looks like in case you’re as hooked as I was with just that intro.
Top 7 Principles to Unleash Imagination
While the book highlights 48 principles to unleash your creativity and imagination, I’ll just focus on a few of the ones I’ve enjoyed implementing:
- Keep a creative space just for creative pursuits: According to Rattner, keeping a consistent creative space in your home or work area helps to induce divergent thinking, increases motivation, reinforces routine and helps one jump-start productivity. This has something to do with a phenomena called classical conditioning whereby we experience a similar stimulus and it provokes a certain effect. In this case, your imagination and creativity flourish when it’s expected they emerge. Also, having a designated space helps to create a on/off switch in our brains so we don’t get burnt out especially if we work from home.
- Include the color blue: Studies have found that exposure to the color blue enhances divergent thinking, which includes intuition, the big picture and unique solutions to problems. The color blue will unleash imagination more than the color red according to the study.
- Include a far off view: While most of us may not have access to daily unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains, do you have access to a window? Having a view of the outside directly impacts your creative task ability because a view of nature helps to reduce stress, mental fatigue and promotes a sense of freedom and openness.
- Display artwork: Just the ability to view artwork in your creative space can help promotes feelings of creativity and learning. But wait, there’s more. Rattner describes that having artwork nearby helps to facilitate a wandering mind and induces saccadic eye movement which helps to strengthen neural connections between the brain hemispheres.
- Include nostalgic objects: Really? Is this a thing? Yes, it’s a thing. Apparently surrounding ourselves with objects of historical significance to our life helps to increase creativity.
- Include plants: Exposure to nature boosts creativity according to a vast number of studies. The best ways to do this are to open up your windows and look out (see point #3) and/or bring nature inside in the form of some easy-to-keep houseplants. I myself have a whole shelf of houseplants in my study, where I keep my creative nook. Apparently, the color green is also thought to help induce creativity.
- Make it beautiful: Another step to unleash imagination involves making your creative space or home in general, beautiful. A 1956 study found that people are more likely to go into a positive state of mind in a beautiful environment as opposed to average surroundings. Those in a rather ugly environment were found to be more irritable, fatigued and prone to complain about their assignments.
You’re on the right track if you begin to hone in on some of these elements. Use the internet, library or a talented friend to help you improve your space so you can be at your creative peak day in and day out. Learn as much as you can about design, your favorite color palette and make incremental changes over time.
With Space Design in Progress a Journal May Accelerate Clarity
Did Yoda say that? I think he must’ve.
When you combine some of the researched best practices for enhancing creativity and productivity (and even connection) and implement them, you may feel more inspired. If you’re feeling stuck in an area, try to implement some of the principles yourself and see how you feel.
“We shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us.” – Winston Churchill
How to Journal to Unleash Your Imagination
How to unleash meaning and imagination in your life? If you’re a bit overwhelmed about some of the steps in Rattner’s books, maybe it’s worth it to break out your journal to brainstorm a bit. Journaling can often help you clarify your thoughts, feelings and plans.
You can also use some of the principles involved with taping into creativity while your journal for an enhanced experience.
Here are some BONUS creativity tactics you can use while journaling:
- Ambient music (a little sounds boosts creativity)
- Dim lighting (moderate lighting boosts creativity to unleash inspiration)
- Use optimal thermostat temperature (stay warm enough)
- Use a pencil (versus something more techie to unleash inspiration)
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Healing endometriosis holistically, and strengthening one’s sense of purpose, mind-body connection and creativity are all components to flourishing health and lifestyle. May you continue to grow and stay inspired in the New Year. Unleash inspiration to live your best life yet.