How mindfulness boosts innovation?
Creativity and innovation are uniquely human traits, but our increasingly fast-paced lives are hindering our innate ability to think outside of the box.
With pressures and responsibilities mounting as we try to grow our business or reach specific targets, our brains often sink into autopilot.
It can therefore be difficult to access the creativity to innovate when we have our head stuck in operational tasks.
Trying to then force creativity is futile, as frustration quickly sets in and kicks off a vicious cycle.
I’d like to show you how to break this cycle by highlighting the link between mindfulness and innovation.
It’s been a slow journey, but I have been working on quieting my mind for five years. The use of meditation apps like Headspace was initially an “on and off’ thing for me, and I struggled to form a daily practice. Mediation was always more of a “should do”.
But after several intense yoga retreats, I now understand what it truly means to quiet my mind, by simply observing my thoughts and not getting lost in them. You can too.
Headspace defines mindfulness as “The quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them”.
Mindfulness has long been used in the self-help arena and it’s increasingly being utilised in the workspace, with companies such as Google and Nike making it an integral part of employee development.
Research has shown that people who practice mindfulness have more cognitive flexibility and are better at solving problems requiring insight.
Through simple exercises, you can create enough space for innovation and creative thinking to grow.
Find a quiet place in nature to reconnect to yourself
– Go on a walk
Our environment impacts us greatly. If you need to be in a creative space to innovate, I’d suggest a change of scenery and a move away from your desk. If you can, walk outside and engage with nature. Not only will you be away from distractions, being among nature can help relieve stress.
If this is not possible, find a place where it feels good to quiet your thoughts and just be – free from any expectation of results. By seemingly doing nothing, you will create a space for ideas to begin to flow back.
You can build this into your daily routine. Making time for regular long walks in nature could be an easy way to get creativity flowing back in.
Stepping away from you day to day environment
– Go on a retreat
I first accessed my inner calm on a retreat in Bali over Christmas last year. I will always remember the time when I felt what connecting to my soul meant. Once I initially felt this, it’s become a lot easier to access inner calm again. But, for me, it took a lot of guidance and being far away from my day-to-day environment.
Retreats are great for immersion. Inner calm is always within us. It is simply covered up by day-to-day preoccupations. We can forget how to access it and get stuck in a rut.
As you quiet your mind, you will be able to hear your heart speak. That is where true creativity is born.
I returned to Bali this year to get my creative juices flowing:
Lauren Cartigny is an ICF certified professional coach in individual, leadership, team, and organisational coaching, and the founder of Coaching Confidence.
She takes a transformational approach to learning and development to assure high and long lasting impact.