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Meditation and Creativity


Whatever you do, whether you’re an artist, inventor, a sales assistant or have a job you don’t think is “creative” – creativity can help you. Living a full life is a creative act in itself, and creative thinking has the power to help you open doors and take advantage of all your opportunities. When you’re faced with problems – whether that’s with a relationship, a broken appliance or an issue in your work – a touch of creativity can often help you find the solution.

So it’s good to know that scientists have found evidence that meditation helps people to be more creative.


In 2012, scientists from the University of Groningen and North Dakota State University tested the theory that mindfulness affects awareness and the filtering out of other mental processes during creative tasks. Studying a large number of volunteers, the researchers found that mindfulness practice predicted and improved “insight” problem solving, which is “seeing” and solving problems in a novel way. This study was the first of its kind to document a direct link between mindfulness and creativity.


In a 2012 study at Leiden University, Netherlands, scientists reported that “open monitoring” meditation (non-reactive observation of your thoughts over time) promoted “divergent thinking”, a type of thinking that allows many new ideas
to be generated.

Other recent research, in Israel, yielded similar results. Scientists there experimented to see if there was a connection between mindfulness practice and “cognitive rigidity” (an inability to think of different possible solutions to a problem) by using
a creative task.

They found that experienced mindfulness meditators scored much lower in rigidity – that is, their minds were freer to come up with new ideas – than non-meditators who had registered for their first meditation retreat.

The researchers concluded,

“that mindfulness meditation reduces cognitive rigidity via the tendency to be ‘blinded’ by experience”.

Their results reflect “the benefits of mindfulness practice regarding a reduced tendency to overlook novel and adaptive ways of responding due to past experience, both in and out of the clinical setting.”