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Can Stretching Help Boost Creativity?

Can stretching help to boost creativity? While the two concepts may feel separate at first, they are more connected than they seem. This stems from the idea that all elements of your life are connected, big and small, and strengthening your creativity can have big results that can improve your quality of life.

 

Why is boosting your creativity important?

Explore new ideas and find creative solutions.

Finding new ideas is the quintessential element of creativity. From unique business ideas (hello WeStretch! 😉) to having an emotional outlet to changing your life path, embracing creativity is the best way to live the life that YOU have always dreamed of.

 

Enhance your empathy and acceptance of others.

When you create, you begin to see things from other perspectives, which can help you to become more empathetic towards others. While this might appear in situations like creating characters of another gender or performing a piece by someone with a different identity, you can experience this in small doses in daily life.

Go a few days where you’re in a similar situation (like at work or in a mall) and shift your appearance slightly each day. Consider what story that your hair, makeup, and clothes tell about you and pay attention to how you are treated. It’s subtle, but how you get perceived when you wear a frilly dress and makeup is distinctly different from just wearing sweatpants. Now watch how you react to others!

 

It can boost your confidence and help you to feel like yourself.

Have you ever seen someone decide to start dressing in a unique style or dye their hair a fancy colour and their confidence shot up overnight? This stems from allowing yourself to express yourself in a way that is authentic to who you are, instead of trying to blend into the crowd.

Even if someone’s appearance doesn’t change, the moment they start expressing themselves the way they want, through music, writing, or another form of creativity, they gain confidence in themselves.

 

Creativity can enhance your life.

When you create, you form connections in your brain. This neural activity keeps your brain sharp and can extend your life! It’s suspected that this happens because creativity encourages high levels of brain activity and creative people are more likely to perceive stress as a challenge to overcome, rather than an unsurmountable problem.

 

A person works at a desk, creating in a journal. There are various art supplies and coffee laid out around them.

 

What benefits of stretching are linked to creativity?

Reduced pain and stress.

When you are in pain or are feeling stressed, you are less likely to even want to be creative. Your brain narrows into a reactionary mode or fight or flight, which doesn’t allow you to explore your true potential.

Stretching acts to calm your body and to release built-up muscle tension. As you start to relax and feel comfortable in your surroundings, you are able to begin to be more creative again.

 

Clearer focus.

Stretching and exercise can help you to hone your focus on the task at hand. It allows you to divert excess energy, bring additional oxygen into your brain, and is a way to physically process different ideas.

If you’re struggling to focus at work or you need a break from an activity, a quick stretch can help you to re-engage your mind and bring you back to task.

 

Discover new ways to move your body.

This benefit is particularly great for artists who use their body to create, such as dancers, martial artists, or yoga instructors. Every new stretch you experience highlights another way that you can move your body. Stretching also helps you to be comfortable in and know every inch of your body, which helps to ground you.

 

A long-exposure photo of a dancer, twirling around in a blurry image.

 

The story of WeStretch

Karen, our founder, was in the shower thinking about how she used to be flexible as a collegiate gymnast. Many years and six kids later, she couldn’t even touch her toes. Yoga classes sent her straight to the chiropractor, CrossFit pushed too hard on her body, and she rarely remembered to do the stretches that her physiotherapist sent home with her.

She was thinking of what the ideal solution would be, when she thought of the idea of using an algorithm to methodically help you stretch. No body part would be left behind, it wouldn’t be the same boring routine every day, and you could efficiently regain (and improve!) your flexibility.

Now, Karen uses her own app daily. She uses her stretching sessions as a way to ground herself and as a way to calm her mind, which allows space for new ideas to form.

 

Karen doing a seated pretzel twist stretch.

 

She’s not the only one who has noticed similar benefits! Maria has found that daily stretching helps her creativity in her job as a yoga and movement teacher. Chris finds that his mood improves after he stretches, which helps him to pursue his creative endeavors. Even I have found that I write and focus better after a quick stretching session, with the words and ideas flowing effortlessly.

 

Becoming more creative overall.

Practice creativity regularly and make it a part of your routine.

Discover what outlet(s) you like best.

While keeping a creative journal is one of the easiest and low-cost methods to get started, there are endless creative possibilities out there!

Maybe you want to pick up a camera or modeling clay. You could make earrings out of small toys or write songs about soup. Puzzles, board games, or Lego are great ways to create and innovate without starting from scratch!

If you don't know where to start, look for local classes or workshops that interest you. You don't have to create something that is museum-worthy from the moment you start! Simply find something that interests you and makes you happy while you do it!

 

Fit it into your schedule.

If you are a morning person, you can squeeze in a few minutes into your morning routine, to help get you started off on the right foot. If you are more of a night owl, allow yourself a solid creativity session after a quick stretch!

Wherever you fit creativity into your routine, try to keep it consistent. It will give you something to look forward to daily and it primes your mind to begin coming up with new ideas since it knows that is what’s coming up next!

 

Seek out the inspiration and beauty around you.

One of the best ways to boost your creativity is to simply start taking in the world around you. Watch the beautiful golden hour light tickle the buildings or how your friend’s face lights up as they laugh. Take a moment to look at the colours of the flowers and to listen to the sound of the wind rustling the leaves. There is so much beauty around you, which can help to inspire you in ways both big and small!

 

A variety of people walking across a crosswalk, shot from above.

 

Improve your creativity in a week.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun,” – Albert Einstein.

 

Day 1

Start this challenge off by asking yourself these questions and writing them down in a journal or on your phone.

1.      On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied am I with life?

2.      How would improving my creativity help my life?

3.      What am I going to do to encourage my creativity every day this week?

If you need some ideas for number 3, try something like making a plan to stretch for 10 minutes an hour before bed. Then, after stretching, set a timer for 20 minutes to write or doodle anything you can think of. No one has to see this but you and the less perfect you can make it, the better!

(The stretching is important, as it helps you to calm your mind and begin the creative process, but going for a walk is also a great option.

Other forms of exercise can work for this as well, but be cognisant of how long it may take to transition between your physical activity and your creative one. If you are too sweaty, you may focus on that instead of creating in the moment, or if you have to shower and change after, the clarity you have gained from exercise may have dissipated.)

 

Playmobile figrues lined up in a row, as if on a school fieldtrip.

 

Day 7

Put a reminder for yourself to check on your progress in a week, asking yourself:

1.      On a scale of 1- 10, how satisfied am I with life?

2.      How do I feel overall (including mood, body, and mind)?

3.      Have I noticed a difference in my ability to create?

4.      Is this a routine I would like to make into a habit or is there another creative outlet that I would like to explore?

5.      Did I have fun this week?

Reflect on your answers from last week to this week and see what you notice!

 

Conclusion.

Stretching is one of the things that can improve creativity by 1%. Your creativity may not skyrocket after your first stretching session, but little improvements will have big ripples. Your focus, mood, and physical sensation in your body will improve, which radiates out to your creative ability, which can help to improve your overall quality of life!

 

All of this just from a few minutes a day!

 

Any links included are for reference, additional information, or entertainment value only, without monetary compensation. Contact us on social media or at team@westretch.ca. Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your health care practitioner if you have any concerns.

 

 

Written by Kayla Willsey