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The surprising way bad weather can actually boost your creativity

by Victoria Keyworth / 08 July 2016

Well, we’re thoroughly enjoying this British Summer. You might not realise it by looking out the window but it's going to be July tomorrow. Now, I know what you're thinking, can this beautiful June weather possibly get any better? ....well, here's hoping!

But, ever one to see the silver lining in every (massive black rain) cloud, we've decided to try and make the most of this weather while we have it. Luckily for us, economic anthropologist Adam Alter wrote ‘Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave’ on this very subject...

“Sunshine dulls the mind to risk and thoughtfulness.”

Alter suggests that rather than stimulating the mind, good weather placates it. When you think of sunshine do you think of brainstorming, in depth meetings, tackling that mammoth project you’ve been meaning to get to?
Or do you think of sprawling on warm grass eating ice cream with a long spoon?
Conciously or not, when the weather is bad we're more likely to actively search out ways to make ourselves feel better. Luckily for us, being creative fosters the same kind of happy satisfaction that we get from sunshine, exercise or wine. That last one might just be specific to me...

We're all being held hostage by the balmy British climate so we might as well take Alter's advice & make the most of it, and if those Hampshire rain clouds are anything to go by, there's never been a better time!
As soon as it starts to look miserable outside our office (just like this morning!) we rush to the kettle and start the day-long process of chain-drinking tea. We like to make ourselves feel better when the weather is worse, and not just emotionally; when the clouds start to roll overhead and the first raindrops begin to fall, it’s time to get creative.
If our brains are proven to be more alert in this type of weather, then it’s high time we took full advantage of this biological programming; why not start your toughest challenge today? That one you've been putting off for months; afterall, you won't want to tackle it when the sun finally makes an appearance!

“Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad. In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully.”

At Think Creative HQ we're already on our 3rd cup of tea for the day, I've ticked 4 things off my to-do list and once this is published that'll be 5, so I definitely subscribe to Alters theory of bad weather enhancing our ability to focus. Maybe it's just because sunshine makes us seem lazy in comparison (due to excessive ice cream consumption), or maybe it's actually because overcast weather does actively trigger an evolutionary impulse in our brains.
I'm inclined to think it's a mix of both; but whatever the reason, I'm looking on the bright side of the clouds - they're doing wonders for our productivity!

One day soon the sun will come out, our brains will turn to mush and it will be glorious, but until that day comes have a wonderfully productive July everyone!

Victoria Keyworth

With a compulsion for content writing and a head for campaign strategy, when your social media marketing needs a refresh this is the girl to do it.

Keeping one eye on what's trending and one eye on your next big idea, she can help you make sure you're always ahead of the curve. She's also a big fan of the proper use of semicolons.

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