“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we’ve grown up.”Pablo Picasso

Ever heard the saying ‘Use it or lose it?’ It’s probably more often related to physical pursuits but is just as exemplary regarding our mental health, a very component of which is our creativity.

For most adults, imagination is something they rarely stop to consider anymore. The concept is relegated to childish pursuits, something we’ve long left behind. These days, our imaginations are mostly in use when we glance at our cubicle’s palm-tree adorned calendars and wistfully think of our vacation days.

So what happened? Where did all of that youthful ingenuity go? It’s actually really easy to understand. You see, kids are uninhibited because they live unaffected by adult truths. Children create outrageous scenarios on a whim and adults lovingly indulge their fantasies, often while fondly mulling over their own childhood adventures.

But as kids grow, they enter school, where many scenarios are no longer open ended, but rather very black and white. Factual. We learn that there are right and wrong answers and we also learn that wrong answers sometimes lead to penalization.

Throughout our very important elementary education, imagination and creativity tend to take a backseat to reading, writing and math. In fact, a study involving 350 children found that by the fourth grade, kids usually experience a sharp decline in their natural creativity.

To ideate, innovate and lead fulfilling adult lives however, it’s so important to retain the curiosity, wonder and imagination possessed by our former tiny selves. Creativity is good for your spirit, physical health, emotional well being and is valued now more than ever in the work place.

Many industries have released articles, blogs and guidelines for inspiring creativity inthe work place. That’s because as the employment sector has become more and more diverse, not to mention competitive, complex business needs must be met with innovative ideation- solutions that upheave tradition, diminish competition and produce quantifiable results.

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Taking a small amount of time each day to immerse yourself in playful pretend or creative, artsy pursuits, can greatly alter the way your brain responds to challenges, once again accessing that limitless realm of thought, only now as a rational adult who can successfully apply his/her ideas. That sweet spot is where the best concepts are formed and that is exactly the sort of thought that employers are interested in.

If you’re like the average adult and find that you’ve become a little less creative, a little more Netflix, take some time every day to implement the following changes in your life. Your creativity isn’t gone. It’s just out of practice.

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  1. Switch up your music and enjoy a genre that you’re not used to.
  2. Take time to doodle on a notepad or show your artsy side with a coloring book.
  3. Spend time in libraries and bookstores, indulgently sampling fictional worlds as you browse through the pages of diverse volumes.
  4. Play the ‘Title’ game with a friend. This is a simple but thought-provoking game where you’ll take turns making up book titles, then giving one another the opportunity to create a summary of the book based solely on its name. If you come up with a concept you like, try writing it!
  5. Employers are looking for highly creative- outside of the box thinkers and communicators.  Here are a few ways you can boost your creative abilities in the workplace.
  6. Re-conceptualize issues before attempting to solve them. It’s easy to present a solution to a dilemma as it’s been stated but taking a moment to consider several angles generally leads to a more detailed and well-thought-out response.
    1. Walk away. We’ve all been there and we will again- a dreaded mental block that inhibits the progress of a project. The simplest and most effective way past this issue is to give it a rest and move on. By focusing your attentions on a different task, you’ll detach yourself from the woes of your current project. When you’ve returned, you’ll often find that you have a refreshed and recharged perspective, allowing you to continue with your work.
  7. Use your hands to communicate. Believe it or not, gesturing with both hands as you speak encourages your brain to think from different perspectives.

While we can’t rewind time, we can certainly reverse the loss of our natural creativity by implementing a few of these actions each day. Unleashing our creative potential may be the ticket to a successful career and rewarding life!