With meditation becoming ubiquitous, we can wonder: Can sitting for 20 minutes of meditation make you more creative? Does meditation increase creativity?
The benefits of meditation are numerous: it reduces stress, increases self-awareness and empathy for others, but it is also said to improve creativity.
Is that true?
How does meditation make you more creative?
Creativity is the fundamental human capacity to imagine new possibilities. Creativity is necessary for innovation and progress, but it does more than that.
It enables the expression of deep human values. In other words, creativity gives you an outlet to express those feelings and beliefs you hold deep inside.
The creative benefits of meditation are well documented in both research and popular culture. When you meditate, your brain waves shift to a state of relaxed focus.
This relaxed state of mind allows a freer flow of ideas and insights than when your mind is more active and distracted.
Not all meditation techniques are equal, though. Research has shown that focused attention and open-monitoring meditation have a significant but different effect on creativity.
In a study, researchers found that open-monitoring (OM) meditation increases divergent thinking, which is a type of thinking that produces numerous new ideas.
On the other hand, focused-attention (FA) meditation may support convergent thinking, a thought process that helps a person select one possible solution to a particular problem.
Another way meditation can make you more creative is by helping you cultivate a mindful approach to creating.
Ever wonder where that proverbial “writer’s block” comes from?
Many blocks and challenges that we creatives face stem from a dysfunctional relationship with our mind. Mindfulness, by bringing awareness to the dysfunction, can help cultivate equanimity in our practice.
Ultimately, this leads to an increase in creativity.
Is 20 minutes of meditating a day enough to see benefits?
In my opinion: Yes! A definite yes.
But here’s the catch.
The actual question is this:
How long will it take to see the benefits?
And this question is a harder one to answer. It depends a lot on your commitment and the kind of meditation you practice.
Still, I’d say that if you practice every day – ideally, under the supervision of a teacher – you could see marked improvements within a couple of months.
And you don’t need to be an experienced meditator in order to realize these benefits; even novices see long-lasting improvements in their creativity and overall focus.
Finding the time to meditate
First of all, there’s no “perfect time” to meditate. So, experiment and determine what works for you!
It can be difficult to find time in your busy schedule to fit in regular meditation, I get it.
A 20-minute session might seem like a huge time commitment if you’re a beginner to the practice of meditation. (Seriously, who came up with 20 minutes, to begin with?!)
Don’t worry if you can’t fit that in just yet.
Start with 5 or 10 minutes and increase the length of your sitting as you become more comfortable with the process. Over a couple of weeks, you’ll find it becoming a more natural part of your schedule.
And no surprises here, but there’s an app to help you with that.
3 tips to get started with meditation
Fifty years ago, finding some information about any kind of meditation was challenging. Nowadays, we experience the opposite problem: There are so many resources out there!
Here’s what you can do to start.
Get an app
My favorite is Insight Timer.
It is also the most used of all the meditation apps. You can use it to time your meditation, access free courses, and meditations (live or recorded).
Come say hello if you join the platform.
Read a good book
I’m going to make your life easier and recommend just one book.
There are many more I could tell you about, but I admire Pema Chödrön’s How to meditate, and I believe that her teachings are the most accessible to all.
Even though her lineage is Tibetan Buddhism, it is possible to approach her teaching from a secular standpoint.
Find a class or a teacher
There are some subtleties that an app or a book won’t help you grasp. Sometimes you need to talk to a teacher.
Many classes are happening online these days if you can’t find help locally.
I want to hear from you
What’s your experience when it comes to meditation and creativity?
Do you have any questions about the practice?
Feel free to contact me directly or post a comment below.