What do creativity and interior design have in common? In the end, creativity is in our heads, and interior design is all around us. So how do they affect each other?
Let’s start with how people came to be. If we think back over the last 100,000 years, we can see that our ability to pay attention to our surroundings and understand the signs in a way that helped us was what kept us alive. For example, falling leaves meant it would be harder to find food soon, and animal tracks could have meant we needed to be on guard.
If we looked at where the sun was in the sky or the north star was, we could figure out where we were. So paying attention to different patterns or signs in nature was a huge advantage for survival.
We Often Process Information Without Knowing It
A lot of this information comes to us through our senses, and we might think things like, “Oh no, winter is coming!” or they could show up as a feeling. Think about how you feel when the sky is cloudy and a storm is coming versus how you feel when the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. Those are two very different feelings. So, we often take in information from the world around us and process it without even being aware.
So, let’s talk about the idea of “brain priming.” Brain priming means that ideas are automatically brought to mind when we receive stimuli through our senses (smell, touch, taste, sound, and sight). These ideas stay active for a certain amount of time, affecting how we think, feel, act, and react in the future.
Two groups of people were given the same creativity test in one study. The first group took the test while sitting in an actual box. The second group took the test next to the box. They were “thinking outside the box,” so it’s not surprising that this group did best on the creativity test. That’s because living out the idea of “thinking outside the box” gave them a head start on how to think.
So we know that we are sensitive to our surroundings and that what we hear and see also affects how we feel.
Now, Which Is Better for Creativity: Feeling Happy or Sad?
Artists like Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, Edvard Munch, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky struggled with depression. This gave rise to the term “tortured artist” or “mad artist” in popular culture, which spread the idea that you can’t make good art unless you’re close to going crazy.
And to be fair, a lot of art was made because of deep sadness, heartbreak, and love that wasn’t returned. For example, Frida Kahlo made a beautiful series of paintings about her breakup with the painter Diego Rivera, who had many affairs, including one with Frida’s sister.
Auguste Rodin’s works “The Kiss” and “The eternal idol” were influenced by his breakup with fellow sculptor Camille Claudet.
Because of how popular the idea of a “mad artist” has become, scientists are now trying to find a link between creativity and mood disorders. But I’m happy to say that there is no proof of a link between them yet. People with mood disorders aren’t necessarily more creative, but it seems more likely that many people with mood disorders use art and creativity to deal with how they are feeling. Some of them become famous artists, but having a mood disorder is not required to be creative.
Creativity Needs Calmness
Also, creativity needs a feeling of calm and relaxation because that’s when our minds can do free association, and we’re more willing to take the emotional, intellectual, and social risks that creative thinking requires. On the other hand, a stressed mind is more focused, alert, attentive to details, and analytical. So making a space that helps us get in a good mood is an important part of being creative.
So, to sum up, we have become so sensitive to our environment that we don’t always have to think about what’s going on around us. Instead, we can feel the changes in our environment. These things can either make us feel good or bad. But to be creative, you need to be in a good mood. This means that creating an environment that makes us happy and helps us stay in a good mood is more likely to support your creativity.