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3 ways to boost your creativity
According to new research, people are likely underestimating their creative potential. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
Many people aren't living up to their creative potential, according to a new study published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (paywall).

In a series of experiments, researchers showed that people often underestimate their ability to come up with innovative ideas. For example, participants in one Thanksgiving-themed activity predicted they could offer 10 more recipe suggestions after making an initial list, but then actually suggested up to 15 when encouraged to keep writing.

The researchers concluded that people give up too easily on creative pursuits, New York Magazine reported, noting "that's a problem because (the study) also showed that the participants' ideas became more creative as they persisted."

Creativity is essential to many everyday activities, from succeeding at work projects to entertaining children. Yet, as the new research illustrates, many people misunderstand how to take advantage of their creative resources or how to train themselves to be even better innovators.

"My creativity, your creativity, and everyone else's creativity is not a fixed sum," wrote Will Burns for Forbes.

Here are three research-backed ways to boost your creativity:

1. Get out of your comfort zone

Creativity is boosted when people put themselves in unusual situations, according to a recent Harvard Business Review blog. Research has shown that emotionally stimulating environments and experiences help people tap into their brain's best material.

2. Take a walk

In his analysis of creativity research for Forbes, Burns noted that spending time in the great outdoors is a great way to get the brain's creative gears turning. Stepping away from a formal work space and into nature helps you let go of old assumptions and open your mind to something new, he wrote.

3. Ignore the voice in your head saying you're out of ideas

The most innovative solutions to a problem you're trying to solve might come just from a few extra minutes of brainstorming, as New York Magazine's coverage of the new creativity study reported.

"This research suggests that the best advice (about being more creative) may also be the most boring: Just keep at it. You might end up surprising yourself," the article noted.
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