Generally, when we have work to do that involves using our cognitive faculties, imagination, and creativity, we are usually sitting at a desk or maybe in a chair.
But research is now showing that if we want to get our creative juices flowing, being sedentary is not the best way to do it. We should, instead, be moving, walking around.
Experiments have shown that people who walk, as opposed to those who are just sitting, come up with more creative responses to tests administered to both sitting and walking groups.
Other studies showed that walking outdoors has the same benefits. People who participated in two different phases of walking produced nearly twice as many creative ideas as those who merely sat for two different time periods. Not only that, the benefits of walking appeared to persist over time. Those who walked for one time period, and then sat for another also produced a more notable amount of creative ideas than those who sat for both time periods.
Other environments as well influence creativity. For example, one study showed that people working together in a room without chairs were more creative than people who worked in a room while seated. Again, moving around caused positive physiological changes that enhanced creativity. Not only that, the people without chairs showed more interaction, more shared thinking, than the people with chairs. There was less of a feeling of ownership of ideas, but more of a feeling that ideas belonged to the group. All of this also contributed to a greater degree of creativity.
This naturally has implications for business. It raises issues of whether people should have more walking meetings. Also, it raises issues of how businesses can make their environments more conducive to creativity. Removing chairs enhanced creativity. Are there other environmental changes that would enhance creativity as well?
The studies appear to show that even small changes to people’s environment can lead to changes in how people interact and affect their creativity. Creativity is not something that is static, but ebbs and flows over time and in different environments and circumstances as well. It also shows that past activities can influence creativity as some later time.
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