One of the most common misconceptions about creativity is that it’s a gift. But, to an extent, it’s a skill just like anything else. It needs practice, repetition and the right timing and setting.

Part of the reason the dreaded words “I’m not creative” are muttered so often is likely because it’s hard to bust out the genius ideas on demand. Great ideas take time. And, as a new study recently found, there’s another ingredient that’s equally as crucial: a relaxed mind.

Sexy artist in ripped jeans and white oversized shirt

The study was conducted by researchers Shira Baror and Moshe Bar at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. The two used word associations to observe participants’ creativity levels among a few other memory exercises. They found that when participants had high mental loads, the word associations were very straightforward. For example, when researchers said something like “black,” the respondent would reply with “white.” However, when the participants were more chilled out, their answers got more playful. Words like “cloud” were paired with something like “white.”

It seems simple, but it looks like the key to creativity might just be a chill pill. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, if you’re stressed and in need of a great idea, take a breather. Go for a walk, a run or a yoga class, and clear your mind for a minute. It’s always tough to set aside time to relax when you really need to be doing just the opposite — but hey, if that’s what science is telling us to do, I guessss we’ll just have to ditch the desk for a yoga mat temporarily.

How do you keep the creative ideas coming? Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

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