Motivation and emotion/Book/2022/Mindfulness and creativity

Mindfulness and creativity:
How can mindfulness enhance creativity?


Insight meditation, which describes a profound, perceptive non-conceptual gaze into the nature of mind and reality, and mindfulness are commonly used interchangeably. This viewing demands a persistent and inquisitive attitude—as in, "What is this?"—against everything that enters awareness, as well as the person who is attending, seeing, or meditating. Some claim that mindfulness, because of its engagement in in-depth enquiry and insight growth, offers a singular perspective that can affect important issues in cognitive science and neurophenomenology, including tries to understand the cognitive basis of human experience itself. But the benefits of mindfulness go beyond good health and mental clarity; it can also be used to boost and nurture creativity.

The Interlinking of mindfulness and Creativity

The subject of creativity is frequently discussed. Are all people creative? Do I really possess greater creativity than others? Can I develop my creative skills? What does the word "creativity" mean? Emotions may fuel creativity or they come from it as a result. These issues are covered in this chapter in light of psychological theories and research results. Additionally, techniques for evoking emotions will be discussed, along with conflicting research on the emotions that best foster creativity.

This chapter explains what mindfulness is, how creativity occurs, and how it may truly enhance creativity.


Focus questions:

  • What is mindfulness?
  • What are the components of creativity?
  • How can mindfulness enhance creativity?

What is Mindfulness?Edit

The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as:

"...a present-moment knowledge of one's reality free of judgement." Mindfulness is a state, not a quality, in this sense. While some practises or activities, such as meditation, may foster it, it is not identical to or synonymous with them."

Researchers believe that the field of clinical psychology and its allied disciplines, behavioural medicine, psychosomatic medicine, and health psychology, have the potential to benefit significantly from the expansion of research approaches to the study of mind-body interactions and the creation of new classes of clinical interventions. The universe of mindfulness gives the word practice a whole new meaning and thrust (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Through meditation, one can acquire and advance certain qualities of attention and awareness that are related to mindfulness. The understanding that develops when one intentionally focuses on the here and now and refrains from passing judgement on how their experience is developing moment by minute is known as mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).

To explain pathways to understanding how mindfulness impacts positive transformation, academics have developed a model of mindfulness (Shapiro et al., 2006). Intention, attention, and attitude have been recognised as the three pillars of mindfulness by studies. We can infer how mindfulness may operate from an understanding of IAA. Intention, attention, and attitude are not distinct stages or processes; instead, they are integral parts of a single cyclic process that takes place simultaneously (Shapiro et al., 2006). According to Prof. Shapiro, mindfulness works by educating individuals to change their viewpoints away from their ideas and to focus on their moment-to-moment sensations without judgement.


Shapiro's mechanisms of mindfulness (2006)

Researchers examined the role of intentions in meditation. They discovered that as participants continue to practise, their meanings evolve along a continuum from self-regulation to self-exploration and finally to self-liberation, illustrative of the function of intention in meditation (Shapiro, 1992). The study also discovered a relationship between goals and results. Self-regulation and stress management were reached by those whose goals were self-exploration and self-exploration. At the same time, self-liberation was pursued by those whose goals were self-liberation and compassion service (Shapiro, 1992). These results are consistent with the idea that intentions are dynamic and ever-changing, allowing them to adapt and alter as one develops in practice, awareness, and understanding.


Attention is a second essential element of mindfulness. Paying attention in the context of mindfulness practice entails observing the processes of one's present-moment, internal, and external experiences. Researchers refer to this as a return to the things themselves, which involves suspending all forms of experience interpretation and focusing on the experience as it manifests itself in the present moment (Shapiro et al., 2006). One learns to pay attention to the contents of consciousness moment by moment in this way. In addition, psychology experts have proposed that paying attention is essential to healing.


The most crucial element of mindfulness, one's attitude when engaging in the practice, can significantly impact how effective it is. For example, a chilly, pessimistic attitude during mindful meditation can change the results and reinforce inner and outer judgement regardless of aim. On the other hand, intentionally attempting to keep a cheerful, patient, and accepting attitude can significantly increase positive outcomes during mindful meditation, as well as one's mood, acceptance, and overall experience of the practice. Furthermore, researchers have shown that even when what happens in the field of experience goes against firmly held aspirations or expectations, people can learn to pay attention to their own internal and external experiences without assessment or interpretation and practise compassion, kindness, and openness (Shapiro & Schwartz, 2000).

Quick Practice

Seat Yourself Find an area to sit on, whether it's a chair, a meditation cushion, or a park bench, that provides a sturdy, solid seat, rather than perching or hanging back.

Pay attention to your what your body is doing. Cross your legs comfortably in front of you if you're sitting on a cushion on the floor. If you're sitting, the soles of your feet should be touching the floor.

Straighten your body but do not tense it The spine is naturally curved. Allow it to exist. Your head and shoulders should be able to rest comfortably on top of your vertebrae.

Place your hands on the tops of your legs Your hands will land in the correct position if your upper arms are at your sides. You will hunch if you move too far forwards. You will become stiff if you sit too far back. You're tuning your body's strings to make sure they're not too tight or too loose.

Let your chin drop slightly You may drop your eyelids. You may lower them completely if you feel the need, but it is not necessary to close your eyes when meditating. You may just observe what is in front of your eyes without focusing on it.

Relax for a few seconds Now get up and go about your business.

When you've set your posture, feel your breath—or, as some say, "follow" it as it travels out and in. Your focus will eventually leave the breath and move to other locations. That is standard procedure. It's often claimed that it's extremely straightforward, but it's not always easy. The effort is simply to keep doing it. The results will come.

What is creativity?Edit

The capacity to produce something original and valuable for the world is what is meant by creativity. Nearly any industry may encourage creativity. Naturally, it occurs in both art and music. The disciplines of mathematics, engineering, science, business, and education are also susceptible to it. Creativity can be found wherever problems need to be solved or where the mind yearns for expression. The jigsaw of creativity has many pieces, including a harmony of directed, deliberate intellect and unplanned play and imagination. Life experience, biology, and personality all play a role. However, even those who are unconscious of it have some creativity. Minor occurrences in life can call for fresh ideas or unexpected solutions. Researchers have worked to categorise, measure, and analyse creativity (Hennessey & Amabile, 2010). In truth, there is a growing body of academic research on creativity, and systematic research into creativity is a growing field of science (Mumford, 2003). In the past, creativity has been seen as a mystery and one of humanity's most distinguishing traits (Klausen, 2010). According to Hennessey and Amabile (2010), creativity is essential to human functioning and one of the leading forces advancing civilisation by fostering change and evolution. Nevertheless, creativity is also one of the most complicated human capacities.

The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asserted that creativity could be observed in several circumstances in his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1996). People who seem engaging, interesting, and have various strange ideas. These are people with fresh perspectives on the world, creative ideas, and important discoveries about themselves. These individuals frequently produce innovative discoveries that remain unknown to others—people who produce enormously acclaimed works of creativity on a global scale. Csikszentmihalyi (1975) brought the idea of flow, a sensation of complete immersion in an activity, into psychology, mostly based on first-person experiences in a range of fields. He discovered instances in physical pursuits like rock climbing, in sports (where it is often referred to as being in the zone), in games like chess, in religious rituals, in occupations like surgery, and in artistic creation (creative flow). According to Csikszentmihalyi, the following are the components of the flow experience: the sensation of leaving behind daily routines and entering a new reality.

Teresa M. Amabile's componential theory of creativity (1983)i s a complete explanation of the social and psychological conditions necessary for someone to produce creative work. The theory bases creativity as the production of unique concepts or outcomes appropriate for a certain goal. The componential hypothesis states that task motivation, creativity-relevant processes, and domain-relevant skills are the three internal elements that have an impact on creativity. The surrounding environment, particularly the social context, is the external component.(1996)

Domain-related skills

Knowledge, competence, technical skills, intellect, and talent in the specific domain where the problem-solver works, such as product design or electrical engineering, are domain-relevant talents. These abilities serve as the foundational resources the individual can draw to engage in the creative process. They are the components that can combine to produce potential replies and the knowledge that the individual will use to assess the viability of potential responses.

Creativity-relevant Processes.

The componential theory of creativity.

A cognitive style, psychological traits that support independence, taking risks, adopting fresh viewpoints on issues, and a disciplined work ethic and aptitude for idea generation are all crucial creative processes. These cognitive processes include the capacity to break out of perceptual and performance "scripts," and employ broad, flexible categories for information synthesis. In addition, self-control and a tolerance for ambiguity are personality processes.

Task motivation

In contrast to extrinsic motivation, which derives from contracted-for rewards, surveillance, competition, evaluation, or requirements to do something in a certain way, intrinsic motivation is the drive to complete a task or solve a problem because it is interesting, involving, personally challenging, or satisfying. The idea of an innate drive for creativity is a foundational premise of the componential theory: When people are driven primarily by the curiosity, delight, fulfilment, and challenge of the task itself - rather than by extrinsic motivators - they are at their most creative. Salient extrinsic motivators can, as research has shown, diminish intrinsic drive. Therefore whether they are present or not in the social context is crucial.

The Social Environment

The work environment, or the social environment, is the external factor. It comprises all extrinsic motivators that have been demonstrated to impair creativity and intrinsic motivation. It also includes various additional environmental elements that can inhibit or promote these traits. Numerous work environment elements have been identified by organisational research as being able to stifle creativity, including customs surrounding the harsh criticism of new ideas, internal politics within the organisation, a focus on maintaining the status quo, a conservative, low-risk attitude among top management, and excessive time pressure.

According to this idea, creativity necessitates the convergence of all variables; creativity should be at its peak when a person who is intrinsically driven, has a high degree of domain competence, and is capable of using creative thinking works in a setting with lots of chances

Tips on how to increase creativity

Being open to fresh concepts The personality attribute most closely associated with creativity is openness to new experiences. Concentrate on being open to new experiences and ideas.

Be consistent Being creative does not imply sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. Creative people devote time to creating new things. Their efforts are not always fruitful, but consistent practice fosters abilities that lead to creativity.

Make more time for creativity In addition to being persistent, you must also make time for creative endeavours. This might include devoting a little amount of time each day or week to brainstorming, practising, learning, or creating.

How can mindfulness enhance creativity?Edit

Indulged in a mindful and creative environment

Although mindfulness enhances many aspects of human functioning, there is conflicting evidence about how it affects creativity. Nevertheless, there is a statistically significant but small association between mindfulness and creativity. According to research (Lebuda, Zabelina, D. L., & Karwowski, M.,2016), meditation increases verbal fluency, problem-solving skills, the ability to elaborate on ideas, and creative thinking. Regardless of how much practice you get, it helps your imagination.  Studies have shown a beneficial connection between creativity and mindfulness.There are significant discrepancies. These might be related to the kind of meditation done and the fact that mindfulness has several facets.Creativity training that encourages mindfulness-related skills may benefit both creative prowess and a positive self-concept. This meta-analysis (Lebuda, Zabelina, D. L., & Karwowski, M.,2016) revealed a beneficial association between mindfulness and creativity. Future studies should distinguish between different facets, degrees, and expressions of creativity about mindfulness.

Looking at research paper ( Henriksen, Richardson, C., & Shack, K.,2020) it examines the the relationship between creativity and mindfulness and analyses how it relates to the complexity of educational environments. There is strong evidence to support the link between mindfulness and creativity, being usually positive and helpful. The literature review investigated the connection between mindfulness and creativity and discovered that it is typically favourable but also complicated. Additionally, it was claimed that mindfulness might be utilised to encourage deliberate daydreaming to boost learning creativity. Because mindfulness promotes perceptual and reflective awareness, which fosters an understanding of our psychological processes and habits, there is substantial theoretical support for the relationship between mindfulness and creativity.

On the other hand this research(Op den Kamp, Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E., 2022) demonstrated that mindfulness is fundamentally concerned with various degrees of awareness and attention to ongoing events and experiences, even though mindfulness has frequently been studied at the individual level.The general population's level of mindfulness was assessed using the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS) by Brown and Ryan validated the scale's five-item state variant (2003). The study's findings are consistent with the idea that everyday mindfulness benefits proactive vitality management. The proactivity, mindfulness, and creativity literature are integrated into this study to define a procedure by which people may actively foster their creativity daily.

Practicing mindfulness promotes creativity

The idea that practising mindfulness and developing related mindfulness abilities will have varied effects on creativity was tested in this research (Agnoli, Vanucci, M., Pelagatti, C., & Corazza, G. E.,2018). The findings unequivocally confirm the differential theory, and a lengthy 8-week mindfulness programme that mainly emphasised developing observational abilities resulted in more creative activity. However, it needs to be clarified how mindfulness and creativity are related. According to some studies, mindfulness practises like meditation and mindfulness skills help to facilitate mechanisms essential for creativity. In contrast, other studies contend that certain aspects of mindfulness may differentially predict fundamental cognitive processes that affect creativity.The findings show strong support for a different relationship between mindfulness and creativity. The only skill that accurately predicted increased creativity was the capacity to pay close attention to, notice, or attentively examine a range of internal and external occurrences.Future studies should look at how specific mindfulness techniques affect dependent variables other than creativity that depend on fundamental cognitive operations, including analytical problem-solving. Long lists of positive impacts on emotion control, interpersonal skills, and basic mental functioning, including creativity, have been linked to mindfulness meditation and related mindfulness skills.

Quiz time!

1 Which of the following options is NOT included in the theoretical model of Mindfulness?


2 Which of the following options is NOT included in the componential theory of creativity.?

domain-relevant skills
social groups
social environment
creativity-relevant Processes.
task motivation

3 So do you think mindfulness can enchance creativity ?

I don’t know


Always be kind to your mind

In the same way that multiple viewpoints are necessary for artistic expression, mindfulness cultivates moment-to-moment acceptance and promotes open-mindedness in its practitioners. Even if the term "mindfulness" is now widespread in psychology and widely used in popular culture, enhancing one's quality of life requires developing specific attributes of one's self. Practising mindfulness can develop their reflective and imaginative abilities by encouraging and nurturing introspection, patience, and open-mindedness. This ability to be accepting and open-minded may be highly beneficial in one's life, enhancing relationships at home, at work, and with oneself, as well as one's overall quality of life. Scientific data have supported numerous benefits of mindfulness. One of the mindfulness's most remarkable qualities is that we can practise it almost everywhere for health care, treatment of illnesses, and the all-too-common signs of stress and concern. On the other hand, creativity, or the capacity to make a distinctive and significant contribution to the world, is not exclusive to many creatives or thinkers. Everyone can be creative. We may realise this potential by encouraging creativity in a particular person or group. Two examples of personal strategies are going for a walk or engaging in relaxing activities that foster creativity and thinking.

See alsoEdit


Agnoli, Vanucci, M., Pelagatti, C., & Corazza, G. E. (2018). Exploring the Link Between Mind Wandering, Mindfulness, and Creativity: A Multidimensional Approach. Creativity Research Journal, 30(1), 41-53.

Amabile, T. M. (1983). Social psychology of creativity: A componential conceptualization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 997-1013. .

Amabile, T. M. (1988). A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior, Vol. 10, 123-167. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Amabile, Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the Work Environment for Creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39(5), 1154-1184.

Amabile, T. M., & Mueller, J. S. (2008). Studying creativity, its processes, and its antecedents: An exploration of the componential theory of creativity. Handbook of organizational creativity, 3162.

Baas, Nevicka, B., & ten Velden, F. . (2014). Specific mindfulness skills differentially predict creative performance. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(9), 1092-1106.

Brown, & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The Benefits of Being Present: Mindfulness and Its Role in Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822-848.

Carson, S. (2014). The impact of mindfulness on creativity research and creativity enhancement. The Wiley Blackwell handbook of mindfulness, 328-344.

Capurso, V., Fabbro, F., & Crescentini, C. (2014). Mindful creativity: the influence of mindfulness meditation on creative thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 1020.

Csikszentmihalyi. (1996). Creativity : flow and the psychology of discovery and invention (1st ed.). HarperCollinsPublishers. Doyle. (2017). Creative flow as a unique cognitive process. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1348-1348.

Grabovac, Lau, M. A., & Willett, B. R. (2011). Mechanisms of Mindfulness: A Buddhist Psychological Model. Mindfulness, 2(3), 154-166.

Hennesey, & Amabile, T . M . (2010). Creativity. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 569–598.

Henriksen, Richardson, C., & Shack, K. (2020). Mindfulness and creativity: Implications for thinking and learning. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 37, 100689-100689.

Kabat-Zinn. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology (New York, N.Y.), 10(2), 144-156.

Keng, Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1041-1056.

Klausen. (2010). The Notion of Creativity Revisited: A Philosophical Perspective on Creativity Research. Creativity Research Journal, 22(4), 347-360.

Lebuda, Zabelina, D. L., & Karwowski, M. (2016). Mind full of ideas: A meta-analysis of the mindfulness–creativity link. Personality and Individual Differences, 93, 22-26.

Mumford. (2003). Where Have We Been, Where Are We Going? Taking Stock in Creativity Research. Creativity Research Journal, 15(2-3), 107-120.

Op den Kamp, Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2022). Creating a creative state of mind: Promoting creativity through proactive vitality management and mindfulness. Applied Psychology.

Sadler-Smith. (2015). Wallas’ Four-Stage Model of the Creative Process: More Than Meets the Eye? Creativity Research Journal, 27(4), 342-352.

Shapiro, S. L., Carlson, L. E., Astin, J. A., & Freedman, B. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of clinical psychology, 62 (3), 373-386.

Sundararajan, & Fatemi, S. M. (2016). Creativity and Symmetry Restoration: Toward a Cognitive Account of Mindfulness. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 36(3), 131-141.

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