How can we use mindfulness in our quest for creativity ?

Mind, Body & Soul Series

Created on: August 02, 2017

Updated on: September 20, 2017

The Problem

The production of code or any other creative work can be stressful at times, when you have a deadline that you are working towards, our mind races and you have the inability to think clearly. This can affect your relationships, sleep and appetite.

This can lead to muscular tension, shallow breathing, nausea, narrow attention focus and emotional reactivity where there is an inability to self regulate our own emotional state.

This can affect our own mindset and it can lead to a deleterious effect on the quality of the code and creative work that we produce.

How can we improve the quality of code ?

We can improve the quality of the code that we produce through the practise of mindulness.

What is mindfulness ?

Mindfulness Is the quality of being conscious or aware of something.

It is the energy that helps us recognise the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives

Mindfulness can calm the mind down and it can enable you to think more clearly about the present.

It can change the way you think and feel about your experiences and it increases our ability to manage difficult situations.

According to NICE (UK Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommends the practise of mindfulness for the treatment of recurrent depression.

How can mindfulness help in the production of qualitative code ?

Early on in the year I was finishing off a project, one of the checks I had to make was to ensure that exceptions within a Laravel project were installed correctly.

At the time i had a deadline that I needed to meet and this mean that I wasn't thinking clearly.

I had implemented an RSSNotFoundException that I had subsequently removed from my exception list. I had left the exception in there as shown in the screenshot below:

web development service provider

This mean't that when I clicked on the rss link it produced an error and my program crashed out.

I decided to meditate the following day, first thing.

The next item within my to do list was to carry out a code review and I successfully identified the rogue exception and I removed it.

This is demonstrated in the following screenshot listed below:

web development service provider

I can safely conclude that meditating first thing in the morning, helped me to write clean code this is because it reduces convoluted thought patterns.

Another way to practise mindfulness is through the practise of Yoga.

What is Yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.

The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing.

As an avid yoga participant I can assure you that it does help calm the mind down and it helps to produce cleaner code.

Breathing exercises

Another way to become more mindful is through the practise of breathing exercises. Take a look at the link listed below so you can become more mindful:

Completed Code

Here are the scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness

Stress reduction

Boost to working memory

Less emotional reactivity

Cognitive flexibility

Creative Workshops

The therapeutic use of art is one of the creative modes to keep us away from cerebral, verbal, judgemental processes, and into the here-and-now world of imagination, intuition, inspiration.

These workshops are really good because they allow us to tap in to the subconscious.

For example take a look at the magazines section in your local newsagents.

Notice how the images on the front pages communicate to us through the use of images.

Images are another important medium of communication and as we all know they are widely used on the internet. Let's bridge the gap between coding and creativity by marrying the two pathways.

Check out more information on person centred therapy here:

Person Centered Art Therapy

Environment

When I was learning how to draw at school, I had trouble trying to put pen to paper in a noisy classroom.

This meant that my vivid imagination wasnt reflected in the drawings that I produced in my Art class.

Gradually as time went on I noticed how others in the class could produce drawings that were impressive and subsequently they were awarded top marks.

As time moved on I realised that my imagination has always been there and it is very radiant, it was the environment that was limiting my outward expression of my imagination.

Your environment has a significant impact on how can be mindful in a distractive environment.

Open plan offices are environments where there are lots and lots of distractions. For example, people who talk very loudly, office politics and gossip.

Extensive international research from Ipsos and the Workspace Futures Team of Steelcase suggests that open-plan offices may be detrimental to an employee’s health, wellbeing and productivity.

Steelcase Article

Only 6.1% surveyed thought it was healthy to be in an open-plan environment and just 6.5% thought it was productive.

Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal article

Wall Street Article

Visual noise, the activity or movement around the edges of an employee's field of vision, can erode concentration and disrupt analytical thinking or creativity."

On average office workers lose 86 minutes per day due to the distractions associated with open plan offices.

One of the ways in which we can improve our environments is to request a private office if you are working in a distractive open plan office environment.

Or request to work from home a few times a week this will help you to become more productive as there are less distractions at home.

To conclude

Some of us have the inability to self-regulate our own emotional state.

Mindfulness is being conscious or aware of something.

Practising mindfulness can make your code a whole lot cleaner.

Your environment plays a significant role in enabling or disabling distractions.