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Creativity Module 18


Mindfulness and Creativity

Breathing Meditation

Background Information:

The concept of mindfulness involves awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings. Mindfulness is defined as a state of “nonjudgmental, moment-to-moment awareness” (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, p.2). Key characteristics of mindfulness include being i. nonjudgmental, ii. patient, iii. remaining open and curious, iv. trusting and v. accepting. There exists a mindfulness-creativity relationship in that mindfulness can enhance creativity as “research demonstrates that mindfulness improves a person’s ability to concentrate, decreases the fear of being judged, and enhances open-minded thinking while reducing self-conscious thinking” (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007; Sedlmeier et al., 2012). These are all characteristics of creativity, especially risk-taking, divergent thinking, and intrinsic motivation. Colzalo et al. (2012) point out that “these effects suggest that mindfulness supports the skills associated with creativity, and research findings suggest that high levels of self-reported mindfulness correlate to creative practices.” See chapter 8 for more information on the creativity of mindfulness.



The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of focused relaxation by paying attention to one’s emotions, thoughts, and sensations (free of judgment) so that the mind focuses on the present. Mindfulness can be enhanced by certain practices or activities, such as described next.


 1.   Sit quietly and focus on breathing.

2.    Body sensations. Become aware of body sensations, such as tingling, pulsing, or no feeling and pay attention to each body part in succession from head to toe.

3.    Sensory. Become aware of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches without  judgment. When the mind begins to wander, refocus your attention.

4.    Emotions. Focus on an emotion (joy, anger, frustration)

5.    Pay attention. Focus on the environment via touch, sound, sight, smell and taste.

Note: Mindfulness activities 1-5 is adapted from Mayo Clinic Staff (2020)


6.    Engage in open monitoring, which is the practice of observing and attending to any sensation or thought without focusing on any specific task or concept. This approach may increase creative thinking and in fact, Colzato et al. (2012) found a relationship between open-monitoring meditation and divergent thinking.

7.    Engage in focused-attention meditation, which emphasizes attention and awareness to a particular task, item, thought or stimuli.

It has been hypothesized that open-monitoring meditation encourages divergent thinking and that focused-attention meditation stimulates convergent thinking (Colzato et al., 2012; Hendriksen et al., 2020;  Kudesia (2015).




1.     Have students keep a reflective log of their activities and be invited to share the content with teacher and peers.

2.     Share these activities with teacher colleagues and compare observations of student behaviors related to the activities.

3.     Instructors keep their own reflective logs related to module activities and compare observations of learner behaviors related to the module activities.

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