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Creative Solutions arise when Minds are Free to Roam

Only when we still the mind do we experience true genius.

It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. The hassles and planning necessary for our Fourth of July barbecues and fireworks displays should now be just a memory. The pets should be over their firecracker shell shock by now, too, hopefully. There are no big elections coming up, so all the complaining in the world right now should be about letting off steam, not building up steam for a serious battle.

It’s still summer, so let’s celebrate the laziest season of all. Kids are now deeply immersed in the freedom of endless possibilities that can only be experienced when school days have faded to a memory. It’s like that first day during a week of vacation when we finally get through a day without a fleeting thought of things left undone back in the “real world.”

We all need a break from the demands of “real life.” Without giving our brains a chance to “take a breather” or our bodies a chance to slow down, we impair their ability to get their respective jobs done. Just like you can overwork your muscles, you can also overwork your brain.

Some of the most elegant solutions to life’s trickiest problems appear “like magic” when we’re least expecting it. Some people “sleep on a problem” and wake with the perfect solution. Others will daydream and bubble up creative possibilities. Most of us know the story of Archimedes and his bathwater inspiration and Newton and his falling apple. Regardless of their veracity, the lessons these tales provide should be taken to heart. Brilliant ideas are set free when the brain is given the opportunity to wander aimlessly on its own.

There are still several weeks of summer left—don’t force your brain into a rut when it’s begging to be set free. Lay in the hammock and listen to the sprinklers whir or the neighborhood kids splash in the pool. Turning off your brain and opening up your senses to the world around you may be exactly what you need to accomplish your best work to date!

More from Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today
More from Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today