Feeling uninspired? Here’s what the new science says about overcoming creative block

The subject of creativity carries a lot of lore and mysticism. But, like anything else, it can be evaluated scientifically.

Here’s what the latest empirical research says about how to break out of a creative slump.

#1. Visit an art museum

One of the most common reasons we develop creative block is because we get stuck in an uninspiring daily routine. We need a little novelty every now and then to challenge new thought patterns and change our perspective.

Psychologist Catherine Cotter explains that this can be achieved by visiting your local art museum. Exposure to art can push you through periods of creative resistance for the following reasons:

  1. We experience something called the “museum effect” when we visit an art museum. When we enter a museum, we are able to enter a state of heightened contemplation that allows us to reflect on ourselves, the communities we belong to, and society as a whole.
  2. Art museums are unique places that most of us don’t visit often. When we have the chance to visit a museum, it’s easy to feel transported and put aside our everyday concerns and just be present in the experience. We may lose track of time or find ourselves engrossed in some work during our visit. It can be a great stress reliever and can help you get your creativity back.

#2. Don’t underestimate your creative potential

According to psychologist Snehal Hora, we all have the capacity to generate creative output. But if we believe differently, we may never live up to our potential.

According to her research, published in Journal of Applied Psychologywe can flex our creative muscles by:

  • Acting assertively
  • Challenging conventions
  • I take risks
  • To be independent

When we cower and act less boldly than we should (or when we become overly self-critical), we give up some of our creative potential.

Psychologists prescribe a strong dose of self-reflection and self-compassion to combat your inner critic. Allowing yourself to make mistakes, try things you wouldn’t normally do, and work in a healthy team environment can help you increase your creative output.

#3. Microdose to break your creative block

Creativity is not a divinely ordained gift; it is part of human nature and therefore can be practiced by anyone. However, there are certain states of mind that have been shown to increase our creative output and are great for generating original ideas.

These states of consciousness can sometimes be induced by very small doses or “microdoses” of psychedelics such as psilocybin and psychedelic truffles. (But pay close attention to the risk factors associated with these substances.) These microdoses stimulate the brain enough to promote improvements in creativity and divergent thinking while avoiding the effects associated with high doses, such as memory impairment, disorganized cognition, and impairment of executive function.

In a study led by neuroscientist Luiza Prohazkova, a team of researchers investigated the effects of microdosing psychedelics on creativity and found that microdosing has a powerful effect on the creative centers of the brain.

“By reducing the burden of prior beliefs, psychedelics have been suggested to eliminate widely held thoughts and biases—evoking a more unrestricted, disinhibited cognition that is associated with creativity,” says Prohazkova.


Creative blocks aren’t as insurmountable as you might think. It’s important to give them the power to determine when you can and can’t create. Your creativity will always be a much more powerful force than any short-term creative block you may experience.

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