Can walking boost creativity?

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{ Book extract from Tonics For Your Creative Spirit

Can you walk your way to inspiration?

Walking has long been used to aid creativity and mental processes.

In Ancient Greece, the famous philosopher Aristotle was renowned for walking as he lectured his students – his school of philosophy was called The Peripatetics as a reference to this style of walking-and-thinking.

Many great writers have also adopted the habit of regular walks as a way to tap into the source of inspiration, from Charles Dickens to Ernest Hemingway to JK Rowling.

Creativity expert and prolific author, Julia Cameron, has been a lifelong advocate of walking for creativity, suggesting that:

“Walking allows us to access our intuition,
to focus on solutions rather than problems.”

And science is now proving what these great minds already knew that walking can boost our mental powers.

An article in Psychology Today states that ‘aerobic exercise clears the cobwebs from your mind and gives you access to insights that are out of reach when you are sedentary.’

This increased blood flow to the brain provides not only a short term mental boost but has longer-lasting benefits such as keeping our minds sharper later in life which is great for those of us who want to be creative well into our golden years.

So enjoying regular walks is an excellent way to boost the physical health and emotional wellness that support a creative life.

But we can also use walking as a go-to remedy for those times when we feel creatively stuck, blocked or in need of inspiration.

Here are some of the ways walking can be a potent boost to your creativity…

6 benefits of walking that can boost creativity

1. Peace and quiet

Periods of quiet in a busy day can be a tonic to the creative mind.

When we take a break to go for a relaxing walk, we’re providing vital R&R to our mental faculties. This can lead to creative insights during the walk itself, as well as improved creativity when we return.

2. Rhythm and motion

Our bodies are designed to move, and it seems that being in motion stimulates thought processes that aren’t otherwise available.

Any kind of aerobic movement can bring about these beneficial effects, but the pace and rhythm of walking make it sustainable for longer periods.

This means we can extend the creative benefits by ‘walking fast and far’, as Charles Dickens used to say.

3. Meditation and mindfulness

The rhythmic nature of walking has a soothing effect on the mind, allowing us to still the mental chatter and calm the inner turmoil. So, walking can be a form of meditation and mindfulness – activities that connect us to the source of creativity and inspiration.

The act of walking in the world also grounds us in our physical reality, helping us to stay present and mindful of our surroundings. This practice can be a powerful antidote to the over-thinking or anxiety that can dampen our creative spirits.

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4. Inspiration and new perspectives

Getting out into the world can be refreshing – both physically and mentally.

Our surroundings can inspire us. People living their lives in different ways can spark ideas that would not have occurred to us hidden away in our creative caves.

The big wide world is rich with new sights and delights that can boost our thought processes and inspire our creativity. Walking can help to reboot our thinking and open us up to these fresh new perspectives.

“There’s great wisdom that comes to us when we take a walk.

There’s a healing that comes from moving your body,
while your mind searches for new ways to live.”

~ Matt Furey

5. Escape and change of scenery

When we go for a walk, we usually leave behind the To Do lists and the drama-du-jour. It can be a welcome form of escape.

This mini-retreat can lead to mental shifts that weren’t accessible amid the usual chores and busyness. A short break from the demands of home or office can provide respite from racing minds, dull thought patterns or uncreative mental loops.

A change of scenery is also a well-known remedy for getting out of a mental rut or a creativity-sapping low mood. As we walk, a new vista reveals itself with every step.

The potential for new ideas and inspiration is all around us.

6. Fresh Air and Nature

While it’s possible to enjoy some of the benefits of walking using a treadmill, walking outdoors delivers extra creative perks.

Fresh air is naturally invigorating – it enlivens our spirit and reawakens our senses, providing fertile ground for creativity and inspiration.

And if our walk takes us into areas of natural beauty, we also get to enjoy the soul-soothing goodness provided by the ultimate creative force, Mother Nature.

• • • 

These are just a few of the ways that walking can impact body, mind and soul – the channels of our creativity.

So, where will you walk today?

danielle raine creativity coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

creative coach danielle raine

creative coach danielle raine l

OBSESSED WITH THE CREATIVE PROCESS SINCE 1993

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