This is your brain…on ART
“I work all day at NASA, then I go home and make art. And while I’m making art, my brain is solving all of my work problems.”
That’s an observation by artist, Karen Friedt, about why she makes art. I had the pleasure of listening to her “Art Talk” last night at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.
And there is oh-so-much truth to what she is saying. Artists often get in “The Zone” where a lot of magic happens, and only part of that is actually about the artwork. If you are not “A Creative,” there is good news! These problem-solving brain functions often occur during other normal activities, such as driving, showering and exercising.
I’ve blogged about this before, about the brain activity that happens during these “percolating” activities. In that great organ of ours, purposeful problem solving fires up to maximum speed. In this Zone, the brain is scanning all of our experiences and memories. It’s taking seemingly unrelated material, crashing it together and looking for connections. If none surface, the process continues again and again (at lightning speed) searching for something valuable to emerge.
Want to know how to get the most out of these activities? Engage in them. This type of brain functioning doesn’t happen when you are watching TV, scrolling through social media, or playing games on your phone.
If you want to increase the fertility of your mind for solving problems, being creative, or just awakening your intuition, you will have to decrease your “escape” activities and increase your “autopilot” creative endeavors. Turn off the TV and learn to knit, or go for a walk without your phone. Participate in a hobby from your youth. Put together that photo album after all. Spend time with a paintbrush, even if you are painting a room in the house.
What is one small thing you can do today to foster “percolation?”