Using Your 6 Senses To Ignite Your Creative Power, Pt: 1
Did you know that you can unlock your creativity using your 6 senses (smell, taste, sight, hearing, touch and my favorite 6th sense, intuition)? Since ancient times, many cultures have acknowledged the power of sound, healing plants, universal frequencies and utilizing nature’s gifts to help humans reach their potentials and fully realize their highest creative selves.
So how can humans in the modern world tap into those primitive tools and instincts when manifesting their own creative masterpieces? As there are millions of tools and combinations in our natural universe that can boost our creative efforts, this list is by no means exhaustive. But here are a few of my favorite ways to engage all 6 senses to ignite creative powers and find your flow.
1) What’s that Smell?
Can you believe that the human nose “can smell at least one trillion distinct scents”? Whoa! Science has now also “uncovered specific psychological reactions to particular scents”. And lucky for us artists out there, some of those scents can actually bolster creative performance. Not only can great smells comfort the artistic soul, but “it turns out this is more than a soothing ritual” as “studies have shown that certain smells can help stimulate your focus and creativity.”
I love using essential oils to work my olfactory senses, and I ensure I’m always using ethically-sourced, natural and therapeutic grade oils, doing my research and reading their labels. Here are a few of my favorite essential oils to use as creative boosters.
- Lavender – Oh lavender, be still my heart. You have become my go-to anxiety releaser and calming enchantress since I was first seduced by your subtle charms. Known to induce relaxation, enhance expression and encourage honesty, this miracle plant is as useful as it is lovely, and an added benefit is that it’s awesome for the skin as well! I love to mix lavender essential oil with a carrier oil such as organic fractionated coconut oil and add it to a glass roller bottle, then apply as desired. I like to use it all over my face and hands (avoiding sensitive areas such as eyes).
- Peppermint – I love peppermint for SO many reasons, including its ability to quickly relieve my pain, wake up my senses, ignite my imagination and keep my frequent migraines and nausea at bay, but peppermint is also rad because it lessons tension, cools the body, increases joy, improves clarity and invigorates the artistic spirit. I use peppermint essential oil lots of ways, but am careful with it as peppermint is strong and it’s not something you want in your eyes, for sure. As you’re learning to use peppermint essential oil, I would recommend diluting in organic fractionated coconut oil if you’re using topically. I even like to use a drop in a big glass of water with a drop of lemon essential oil in the morning. Even just opening the vial and smelling peppermint essential oil can make a huge difference in your day! As a note, those with sensitivities and pregnant women should avoid ingesting peppermint.
- Tangerine – I love all of the citrus essential oils because to me they really just enhance all the good feels and positive vibes. But beyond that, tangerine essential oil is known to enhance happiness, creativity, and playfulness to really bring out your joyful inner child and unlock the things blocking you from aligning with your ideal frequency. I love to diffuse my fave citrus essential oils so I’ve got a constant mist of this good lovin in the air at all times. As an alternative, I might add a drop to my glasses of water. As a caution, some essential oils (especially citrus ones) are photogenic, meaning they can make your reactions to the sun more extreme, so best to avoid adding these to topical solutions like lotions and rubs if you plan to work on your tan!
Incorporating an essential oil routine into your life can not only improve your overall health, well-being and mental balance, but it can also light a fire in your artistic endeavors. Just ensure that you do your research before using any essential oils as they are potent and could result in undesirable side effects. It’s always a good idea to check with your physician, especially if you are pregnant or know you have sensitivities.
2) Sounds about Right
Sound plays a huge role in our lives. Sounds can warn us of danger, trigger emotions like soundtracks in movies, intensifying scenes on the screen, and sounds can also make us smile, like when we hear the laughter of a loved one. But specific sounds at specific volume levels can also add to our creative flow, no matter what kind of art we are making. There’s even a type of yoga called Nada Yoga which “honors the practice of listening as a form of medicine and “teaches that sound and vibration connect us to our inner cosmos as well as the cosmos of the solar system”.
Many people think that silence is best when you’re at work, but as a heads up for us artists, it turns out that “if you’re doing more creative work, ambient noise is most effective in stimulating your thinking.” What exactly is ambient music? Ambient music is defined as, “a style of gentle, largely electronic instrumental music with no persistent beat, used to create or enhance a mood or atmosphere,” and just happens to encompass some of my favorite music.
But make sure to keep a check on those volume levels, because research has shown that while a moderate “level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks,” music that is too loud “reduces the extent of information processing and thus impairs creativity.”
A few of my favorite picks for ambient art music are:
- Sound traveler – My friend Mike Polarny is a badass international DJ with a huge heart who travels to immerse himself in other cultures he honors in his music. His sounds are perfect when I want some good music to paint, draw, dance or write to.
- Bonobo – Any of his albums are amazing, but his most recent Migration album has also received some Grammy nominations. This is a great go-to music choice when you want to trigger that creative energy.
- Burning Man Sunrise Sets – There are quite a few of these on Soundcloud and Spotify from a myriad of artists and individual users. I haven’t come across one yet I don’t like, so that’s always a good search term to find some cool new ambient EDM to get those creative vibes a flowing.
There’s really no right answer in terms of which music to choose, so just go with your gut and choose something that makes you happy or matches the vibe of what you want to create in your art. Just make sure your chosen music isn’t too distracting, and a good rule of thumb is to choose something mostly instrumental without many words.
3) Tongue Twisters
Nutritionists have been shouting the praises of superfoods for their amazing health benefits for decades, and ancient cultures around the world have honored plant medicines since the beginning of time for more than just basic caloric intake. But did you know that certain foods can actually help increase your creative prowess? It turns out that there are some incredible foods in our natural environment for enhancing creativity. Here are a few of my faves:
- Green tea – Loved for its many health-boosting qualities, and considered “one of the healthiest things for your body and brain,” green tea works within the body to “increase the connectivity among all its parts to allow for complex thought.” A touch of caffeine gives green tea a little more kick, and theanine, the amino acid found in green tea, “ensures it releases gradually, eliminating creativity-killing crashes.”
- Blueberries – These superfoods can not only “lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory,” and in comparison to other foods “for the brain, few match the benefits of the blueberry, whose high doses of antioxidants fight free radical cells that knock the brain off-kilter.” Blueberries also improve memory and motor coordination and work to battle stress.
- Water (is life) – We all know the importance of getting our daily dose of H2o, but did you know that “the fundamental element of life is also essential to finding great ideas”? It makes sense when you consider that our brain is mostly made of water, but when you increase your water intake, your “mental flexibility rockets by 14 percent.” So definitely express your gratitude for your access to clean water and drink up!
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