How many times have you had the urge to jot down an idea in your phone notes while running, driving or even showering? These random bursts of inspiration aren’t totally coincidental. A study from the University of British Columbia has found that numerous parts of the brain are active when we daydream. A few of these brain regions are related to complex problem-solving which means that taking a break from a prolonged task may be the best approach to solve said task.
Ladies and gentlemen it’s now time to stop feeling guilty over taking snack breaks!
Creative and “out-of-the-box” thinking is all about finding associations between unrelated ideas and concepts. This essential part in problem resolution is not always an easy feat. To hone your creativity it is necessary to let your mind wander. When you stop working on a specific problem and your mind drifts to an unrelated topic your brain can enter the diffuse mode, which makes it easier to perceive connections that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Here are 5 ways taking a snack break boost creativity in the workplace:
- Nutritional Value
First and foremost, thinking and focusing for an extended period of time burns calories. According to a Harvard Health Publication people burn about 41-78 calories every 30 minutes for doing anything from deskwork to sitting in a meeting. Taking a break to munch on a healthy snack enables you to replenish your energy and rid yourself from hanger. With your rumbling stomach no longer able to distract you and slight pause in your workday you are able to resume whatever task with a recharged mind and full belly.
- Social Aspect
If you’re meeting up with a co-worker for a quick muffin and coffee break, the mere act of talking to someone else for a bit is sure to help clear your mind. Engaging in non-work related yet stimulating conversations help put your brain at ease and relax. In addition to an interesting discussion, talking with a colleague can broaden and shift your perspective, which is key to get the creative juices flowing.
- Change of Environment
Getting up from your chair and walking over to the break room not only gets you physically moving (which gets your blood flowing and increases oxygen to the brain) but also helps you disconnect from your work. By actually leaving your desk you distance yourself from the problem at hand, which can help bring clarity to your mind. This switch up of surroundings may help trigger some inspiration. Next time you pull out a snack, make sure to leave your office even if it is for only a couple of minutes.
- The Sensorial Aspects
Instead of mindlessly snacking take time to consciously enjoy it. By savouring the flavours, noting the textures and even just listening to the sound of unwrapping your snack or chewing on a granola bar are enough to take your mind off whatever you were previously doing. Observe how your mood shifts. Eating a snack you love can make you feel happier and motivate you to take on the next task. Paying attention to all of these aspects can really help your mind let go.
- The Ritual
Rituals are an important part of the creative process. Many of the world’s most creative people have their routines. For example, Stephen King starts each of his mornings with a few hours of writing. This pre-writing ritual is essential to his creative process. If you are looking to bring creativity on a more permanent basis into your personal and work life, it’s essential to form a habit of it. It could be as simple as your daily walk with Gina to the nearest café.
Unconventional thinking requires unconventional approaches. So stop what you are doing!
Chances are if you are reading this, you were looking for a distraction and are in need of a break anyway. Get up, grab a snack and a friend and when you return I can guarantee that your renewed energy will help bring a sense of creativity to the rest of your day.