What’s the best way to recover from an energy-depleting mental workout? Well, there are two proven ways to recharge your creative batteries: walking or taking a short nap.
Let’s start with walking.
Taking a stroll has been shown to enhance your relationship with your work and boost your creativity. That’s because it’s a brilliant way of tapping into your subconscious – the part of your mind in which many of your best ideas develop.
Take it from William Rowan Hamilton, a nineteenth-century mathematician. He developed his most famous postulate in the field of algebra while walking along Ireland’s Royal Canal with his wife. He later explained how he came to his idea, stating that an “undercurrent of thought” had suddenly revealed itself after “a spark flashed forth.”
Indeed, walking is closely related to creativity. That was demonstrated by a study carried out at Stanford University in 2015.
The researchers wanted to test students’ divergent thinking skills – a type of thinking aimed at generating creative ideas by exploring as many different possible solutions to a problem as possible. The study showed that the participants who’d spent their time on a treadmill or taking a walk outside had much higher scores than those who’d taken the test sitting at a desk.
Another great way to rejuvenate those grey cells is to take a midday nap.
Grabbing a quick siesta isn’t just psychically restorative – it also helps foster information retention and emotional control.
Olaf Lahl, a sleep scientist based at the University of Düsseldorf in Germany, carried out a study in 2008 that showed how catching some z’s supports the brain’s ability to retain new data. Lahl divided the participants into two groups and tasked them with memorizing 30 unfamiliar words in two minutes.
One group had been given the chance to take a nap before the test, while the other had been awake the whole time. The former group recalled a significantly higher number of words than the latter.
Walking and midday nap are proven scientifically to be effective methods to improve and recharge your creative batteries. So, whenever you struggle with solving a problem or coming up with an idea, try out of these two methods.