Ever wonder why it is that just when you have a head full of suds, it hits you – the simple solution to that big problem you’ve been wrestling with? It’s that relaxed inspiration you get when you allow your mind to wander over whatever creative ground it chooses (aka shower inspiration).
Now if I were a neuroscientist, I could give you a fancy-shmancy scientific explanation, but I am not so I’ll stick with the creative perspective. When we tend to struggle with problems or force creative inspiration, we are looking at things from a particular angle, not allowing for the free-association that sparks our best ideas.
It’s like when we struggle to remember something and as soon as we stop trying, it just comes to us (this is where the fancy-shmancy scientific explanation would be handy). Forcing your mind in one particular direction doesn’t work. It just leads to more blanks and frustration.
That’s typically when we jump in the shower. We’re fed up with trying to process the problem and we need that creative break. Because it’s not always practical to jump in the shower, it’s important to have a few other tricks that do essentially the same thing: give your mind space to do what it does however it does it.
5 Ways to Trigger Your Relaxed Inspiration
#1: Shift Modes – Change your problem-solving mode. If you are working on your computer, grab a piece of paper. If you are writing things down, try drawing them out. If you are working alone, phone a friend to talk it out. You get the idea.
#2: Try a Creative Spiral – Grab a blank piece of paper and write the problem, objective or core idea you need to solve or create. Working from the center outward, write out whatever pops into your head, starting with the most obvious. Review the end result looking for themes or threads to connect you to the answer.
#3: Build the Template – Instead of struggling with the answer or waiting for inspiration, start filling in what you do know or what you can come up with and leave the rest blank. Using a mechanical process to get your ideas flowing is another way to combat the struggle against the blank page.
#4: Start from a Different Corner – Find a different part of the problem to work on. If you are trying to tackle it from beginning to end, start at the end and work backwards. Another option is picking a completely different aspect of the project as your starting point if the obvious place poses a problem for you.
#5: Put It Down – Take a break from the problem altogether. This is in essence what we do when we jump in the shower or go for a walk. We push the problem to the back of our minds while occupying ourselves with a mundane task. Let it whirl around on its own for a bit until your brain is ready to bring it back to the front.