“The muse won’t be summoned. She alights when it damn well pleases her. She fall in love with one artist, then deserts him for another. She’s a real bitch!”, writes novelist Erica Jong, in her book, Seducing the Demon and without a doubt, many designers, writers, brand creators, and artists from all walks of life, would agree.

To what extent is creativity something that just exists, however? Do we have to passively await our ‘muse’, or can be take an active role in boosting our creativity? This is only one role of nootropics and other methods whose aim is to heighten memory, cognition, and creativity. In this post, we discuss the ways in which human beings seek to improve their performance and creativity.

An Important Study on Stress and Creativity
In a meta-analysis of the relationship between stressors and creativity, Kristin Byron et. al. sought to discover the extent to which environmental factors such as stress, can impede artistic flow. Their findings indicated that “it is an oversimplification to state that stressors have either a positive or negative effect on creativity.” Rather, the answer lies in the level of stress en employee is subjected to. They note, “In general, low stress-inducing situations cause increases in creative performance, and high stress-inducing situations caused decreases in creative performance.”

The Role of Managers in Bolstering Creativity
The study additionally found that managers seeking to increase creative performance in their employees should ensure that the latter have a sense of control over their work. Factors such as red tape, conflicts of roles, and time pressures, should be removed, and there should not be too strong an emphasis on evaluation.

Interestingly, they stressed that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Employees with low stress, for instance, can benefit from low level stressors, which managers can selectively use. Those who are already under great stress, however, should definitely not be placed in stressful situations.

Anxiety, Depression, and Creativity
In an interesting entry in The Path to Creativity blog, the author notes how anxiety and depression affect the creative process, causing either a sense of unworthiness and hence, lack of motivation, and/or apathy. Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental conditions on a worldwide scale, seriously affecting wellbeing and, research indicates, creativity.

Boosting Brain Power Naturally
Those into health will have noticed the heightened media interest in nootropics: supplements and functional foods that have a few factors in common, including: their ability to enhance learning or memory, the protective effect they have on the brain against physical or chemical injury, and the fact that they have very few side-effects.

Authentic nootropics are not to be confused with ‘superdrugs’ taken to improve athletic performance or boost memory (since these substances can have serious side-effects). The most highly rated safe nootropics include caffeine (taken to promote alertness), kratom (an evergreen tree whose red veined leaves contain substance which can improve stress and mood, and enhance sleep) and ginkgo biloba (which has been found to lower the rate of cognitive decline).

In addition to nootropics, other ways to boost creativity (by battling stress in particular) include exercise, yoga and meditation, and time in nature. All these activities have been found in numerous studies to significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol.

Finally, if you find that your working memory is holding you back from understanding complex instructions while working on a creative project, the brain game Dual-n-back (which you can play online for free) has been found to improve working memory; the game is also said to be very entertaining.

The state of our brain has a notable effective on the work we produce, especially when we are called upon to create something innovative, be it groundbreaking web design, photography for an exhibition, or novel writing. Stress can be a great impediment to success, and it is vital to keep our memory and concentration sharp by engaging in a number of brain boosting activities, including games, mindfulness practice, and the use of natural supplements if appropriate.