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10 Tips for Boosting Your Everyday Creativity

It might be cool for the young to adopt an attitude of “been there, done that, got the T-shirt,” but discovering new and exciting things is critical for maintaining good health—especially as we grow older and, often, more set in our ways. Creativity helps keep the mind active and the spirit young, so fostering a creative spirit can be a powerful way to gain a fresh perspective and keep life interesting.

Many people might balk and say, “I’m not creative!” but “creativity” is really about learning to see the world in new ways. All of us, from beret-wearing Parisian artists to everyday Joes, have the ability to change the way we look at the world. Whether you’re hoping to inspire the world with a work of art, solve a problem that’s been bugging you or simply wile away an afternoon, here are 10 tips for seniors interested in unleashing their inner Picasso.

1. Strike up a conversation with someone new. Everyone has an interesting story, and our different life experiences all give us a unique perspective. Try striking up a conversation with someone you might only say hello to. You never know what you might learn.

2. Get up and stretch. Sitting down for extended periods—particularly if you’re staring at a screen—can shut down your creative juices. Look away from the screen, stretch your legs, and get the blood flowing. When you sit back down with your project, your mind will be refreshed.

3. Get outside. The great outdoors offers more benefits than a little vitamin D. The fresh air and open spaces do something special to our neurochemistry, helping us think more clearly and creatively.

4. Visit a museum. Or go see live music. Or listen to a lecture. The imagination doesn’t live in a vacuum, so getting out in the world gives you something new to reflect on and can inspire your curiosity.

5. Work with others. The old adage says that more minds are better than one, and this holds true for creativity. Humans are social beings, and creativity often feeds off the different perspectives people bring to a group.

6. Remember to play. Whether you’re painting a picture or solving a puzzle, the task may seem like work at times. But when something feels like work it tends to shut down our creativity. If you’re stuck on a project, take a few moments to jazz around and have a little fun.

7. Keep an open mind. Cultivate curiosity. Ask questions. Be open to new ideas. If you’ve already made up your mind you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

8. Don’t wait for inspiration. You might associate “creativity” with the lonely artist waiting for inspiration to strike, but real artists know the best way to inspire creativity is to get to work and start putting ideas down on paper.

9. Do something you’ve never done before. This can be as simple as trying a new food for dinner or visiting a new neighborhood. Mix it up.

10. Exercise. Creativity aside, exercise might be the single best thing you can do for yourself at any age. Get the heart beating and the blood flowing, and your brain cells will kick into gear soon enough.