Taking regular aerobic exercise enhances blood flow through the brain, as sell as making a marked difference to the structure and function of the brain.*
You have been given a task, have to come up with an idea, it’s your responsibility.
What do you do?
Freeze your brain with panic?
Cut out all distractions and sit in one place scrunching up your face with focus until an idea comes?
Or do you take a walk?
Shane O’Mara’s work uncovers how we have the ability to both focus on details and to mind-wander. There is a real possibility that creativity occurs when we perform these tasks simultaneously.
We’re full of ideas and information and experiences with millions of permutations for how these may come together:
One possibility as to why the flickering between these two modes of thinking lies at the core of creativity arises from the notion that in order to create something new, you must combine ideas some form of novel association. Mind-wandering allows the collision of ideas, whilst mind-focusing allows you to test whether it is nonsensical or interesting and new.*
Next time you’re responsible, why not take a notebook and pen and go for a walk? It’s what I’m going to be doing later today.
(*From Shane O’Mara’s In Praise of Walking.)