1. Have hope:
When you’re hopeful, you’re aware the outcome might not be positive, but you’re motivated anyway. And the literature seems to support that having hope actually helps people come up with more original connections and ideas.
2. Take a hike: No, seriously. It turns out a nice walk, especially in the great outdoors, can help us solve problems. The physiological changes associated with walking, like lower stress levels, lower arousal levels and an overall better mood, can promote more creative thought connections in the brain.
3. Go it alone ... then put your heads together: Alone time and the space it provides is vital in coming up with a creative solution. But once the lightbulb goes on, creative types often take that idea to a group to hash it out and turn it into a solution.
4. Meditate: Speaking of going it alone, meditation can be a boon to getting the creative juices flowing, though only specific types of meditation. You don’t want to totally suppress your thoughts. Instead, experts say, try meditation that allows you first to recognize wandering thoughts and then to bring your focus back to the present. According to a 2014 Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study, this nondirective meditation can activate brain areas associated with memory retrieval and emotion.
5. Think differently: Humans are creatures of habit, so it’s all too easy to get stuck thinking inside the box. But just trying to think differently can help. One long-term study found that innovative leaders spent 50 percent more time attempting to think differently — and consistently succeeding.
6. Just do it: It seems like a no-brainer, but the more ideas you come up with and try out, the more likely it is something will stick. In analyses of adults who were flagged as geniuses, only a small percentage of their creative ideas ended up leading to a substantial solution. So keep at it!