Does having a cluttered mind promote creativity?

Having a cluttered mind has always been portrayed as negative, but did you know it can promote creativity? Here’s why!
Creative people tend to face onomatomania more! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Geetika Sachdev Published: 16 Feb 2022, 15:00 pm IST
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More often than not, we’ve been hearing of the benefits of de-cluttering not just our spaces, but also our minds. Remember Marie Kondo? Well, almost everyone tried out her technique. When it comes to the mind, releasing your thoughts and emotions does bring in a sense of relief. But that doesn’t mean that a cluttered mind can’t be beneficial? In many cases, it helps to promote creativity.

Wondering how? That’s why we got in touch with experts to help you understand, both from a neurological and mental health perspective. So without further ado, let’s get to the point.

Brain clutter can impact your memory, but promote creativity

Dr Kunal Bahrani, Associate Director Neurology, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences tells Health Shots, “Cluttered representations can impair memory by interfering with the retrieval of target information, but can also provide an advantage on tasks that benefit from extensive knowledge. Memory-dependent cognitive functions related to the creative process may benefit from cluttered memory representations.”

He adds that at the end of the day, creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and approaching situations.

clutter mind promote creativity
Keep your desk clean to declutter your mind. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

“The first step is to fully devote yourself to developing your creative abilities. Next, develop creativity by becoming an expert in that area. Also, one common roadblock to developing creativity is the sense that curiosity is an indulgence, but you need to be willing to take risks in order to advance your abilities,” says Dr Bahrani.

A mental health perspective

Devisha Batra, senior counseling psychologist, IWill, shares with HealthShots that a cluttered mind is full of thoughts, experiences, emotions, and various perceptions. Through switching back and forth between them, it provides a reflection of openness and explorations.

“With thoughts and opinions, the mind helps in connecting the dots of tasks, thereby enhancing the creative side. This exploration helps one become aware of their surroundings and be attentive. The interactive process among these aspects helps plan future actions, use various creative strategies, and evaluate ideas. This further increases our imagination, reducing distractions and making our inner experience better,” she adds.

The cognitive styles, memories, emotions, experiences, and sea of knowledge can help retrieval of targeted information, and cultivate creative thinking.
Many research studies have also revealed that creative thinking involves retrieving and associatively combining real-life knowledge (semantic memories) from one’s “memoryscapes”.

“When we perceive, we link ideas and concepts using information from the clutter that increases our ability to make a decision and solve problems in a creative manner. Some people believe creativity and innovation to be a gift of nature. However, this can be improved with training, exposure and experiences,” she explains.

Take care of your mental well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Creative thinking involves trial and error to reach the goal. The flexibility of using the important pieces of details from the cluttered mind provides an understanding of the prioritization of tasks and leads as profit for cognitive abilities.

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What are some ways to improve creativity?

Here are a few effective tips, advised by Batra:

1. Seek out challenging tasks

Taking projects or tasks that are challenging and don’t necessarily have an easy solution works well. This will help in generating, and cause old ones to get replaced by the fresh solutions.

2. Brainstorming

It is a creativity technique used to find a solution to a specific problem. This is accomplished by gathering and recording new ideas from team members in a free-flowing manner. It encourages open collaborations and combines, refines, and improves ideas.

3. Problem reconceptualization

“It is quite common to jump in to find answers, when faced with a problem. A great way to produce creative thinking is reconceptualizing the problem. It involves rewording the problem or changing some aspect of it, so that it is slightly different. Approaching a problem in this way can lead to fresh insights,” adds Batra.

clutter mind promote creativity
Know the right way to channelize your energies. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Capture new ideas and avoid perfectionism

Typing in new thoughts and ideas, as and when you explore things, so that they can be used later on. This gives expansion of knowledge. When we set rigid expectations from tasks, it can create mental barriers. Creativity can only happen when we allow thoughts to flow unconstrained. Once ideas are generated, we can evaluate them and cull the ones that are not required.

Also, read: Is your house cluttered? Here’s how it can affect your mental health

5. Surround oneself with interesting things and meet new people

Trying out new things and activities that allow one to develop ideas, taking up new courses and meeting people, going on trips etc that help give new insights and new thinking can prove to be beneficial.

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About the Author

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town. ...Read More

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