Relaxation Boosts Creativity & Innovation, Neuroscience Suggests [Productivity Hacks]

Relaxation Boosts Creativity & Innovation, Neuroscience Suggests [Productivity Hacks]

David Huting

Taking time to do relax and let our minds wander can help boost creativity and lead to moments of insight, neuroscientists suggest in a recent article about the Secrets of Creativity. I take it one step further and discuss how Nature can aid in creating a relaxing environment.


Question: What are some good ways to foster creative insight and innovation in every day work?

This question and response by author Brigid Shulte originally appeared on Quora, the knowledge-sharing site and was shared on in an article called "Neuroscience Has Discovered the Secret to Creativity.

"We tend to think of creativity as this flash of inspiration that comes unbidden and when we least expect it. Neuroscience is showing us that that's true, in part. But there are some things we can do to create more opportunities for these kinds of eureka moments that lead to more creativity, innovation, and insight at work."

"The first step is to understand the difference between creativity and innovation. You can still innovate when you're tired and crispy around the edges--you can come up with the next iteration, or tweak around the edges. But to create something wholly new and different, to have a fresh insight into how to solve an old problem, that takes a different state of mind and being. Neuroscientists Mark Beeman and John Kounious actually mapped what happens in the brain during a moment of insight. They found that it required being relaxed and rested and in a "diffuse" state of mind. So there's good neurological science behind why we tend to get our best ideas in the shower, after a workout/walk, just as we're waking up, or while on vacation."

"Our brains work in two modes: we have a concentrated mode, when we're directly focused on a task or paying attention specifically to something. And we have a diffused mode, when we're daydreaming, spacing out, or not thinking of anything in particular--letting our minds wander, so to speak. So to become more creative at work--or really in life--honor the two modes of your brain, and make sure you're giving it enough time off."

This article originally appeared on "Neuroscience has Discovered the Secret of Creativity" and was shared from a Quora response by Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

One Step Further: Using Nature as a Means for Relaxation

This is important! Switching your mind into that "diffused", relaxed mindset (I call it "awe"-some mode), requires you first minimize the environmental stresses from your workspace, so you can create an environment that is conducive to relaxation.   

Looking for creative inspiration or innovative insight for your next big project? Or does your work space not have a calm vibe? Here are a few ways to lower stress in your office or workspace:

1) Add More Nature To Your Workspace: Plants & Scenic Views

Considering that viewing Nature has been linked in several clinical studies to a more positive mental outlook and lowered levels of mental exhaustion, it just makes sense to use it as a tool for acheiving relaxation. The unfortunate reality is that most of us do not have time or access to real Nature (plants do help though!), but fortunately you can use Nature Relaxation™ videos to instantly transform any phone, tablet, computer or TV into a calming, beautiful window to Nature's wonders. 

2) Take Regular Relaxation Breaks to do Nothing. 
Yes, that's right - nothing. Turn on a Nature Relaxation™ video, let your mind wander on, and try not to let any thoughts actually stick. Just become focused on your breathing, and after even just a minute or two you will feel noticeably more relaxed. As Brigid suggested: "Work in pulses of no more than 90 minutes, then take a break. Take a walk. Change the channel. Let your mind wander. Then come back to a concentrated work mode."

RELATED ARTICLE:: The Lost Art of Relaxation


Written by David Huting.

Take a quick second to scan your body and immediate environment - are you relaxed? If not, take a few minutes and press play on the relaxing scene below, then take 5 deep breaths, exhaling with your nose while watching the below scene:

Feel a difference? Or do you already use Nature Relaxation videos to relax?  Leave your feedback below and enter for a chance to win $250 in free download credit!

-Stay Relaxed,


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