Simple ways to expand our imagination and why it’s important
Research has shown that as we age and reach the ending stages of our neural development (usually around the age of 25), the neural pathways within our brain become more solidified.
We fall into ruts, our thinking becomes the same, we do the same things — day in, day out, week in, week out, and in the worst cases possible, year in, year out. Sometimes these ruts become so deep that they even begin to affect our imagination and daydreams.
According to the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, imagination is defined as the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality, also defined as a creative ability. As we age, we often leave behind those earlier habits we had of drawing, painting, singing and even just playing “make-believe.”
Daydreams become the last escape, but over time, even these can become repetitive and weary. Below follows a short list of simple things you can do to keep your imagination going and escape the day-to-day monotony in more imaginative ways.
Start off by reevaluating the quality and material of what you watch on TV, read and your web surfing choices. Instead of choosing simple topics, choose more provocative topics that will keep you thinking even after you’ve finished up.
A surefire way is to try something new. Listen to a new kind of music, go to a new restaurant, take a walk in a park you’ve never been to before.
Traveling will also contribute greatly: new sights, sounds, smells, and views. Even half-day trips are a great option. Can’t afford to go somewhere? Not a problem ⏤ research has shown that merely reading up on and planning a trip contributes to our mental health.
If you want to expand your imagination more specifically in your workplace, make an effort to meet and talk to new people, go to conferences, subscribe to publications related to your industry. It sounds like such a simple thing to do, but it is often overlooked and can greatly contribute to our thought patterns, and even help create new ones.
Time and time again, exercise is a player in the game. Research has shown that you daydream more while moving, and that creative bursts also last longer while, and after having exercised.
A word of caution, though: similarly to these ways of expanding our imagination, we can easily undo the good we’ve done. With the constant stream of news and media reflecting negative events such as break-ins, natural disasters and other misfortunes, our imagination can easily be prompted to think about unlikely events that will get us nowhere and make us worry.
The same can result from watching too many scary movies. The unnecessary contribution of fear can lead to those negative imaginary cycles, as well.
At the end of the day, our daydreams are a simple way of escaping from the repetitiveness of our daily lives. They’re a free association between the now and where our minds might wander. Let your mind wander free. If you find yourself in a rut, remember there are many ways to expand your imagination. You never know, your next daydream may spark the idea for the greatest thing since sliced bread.