Many people think that researchers are creative thinkers, however, that isn’t true. Being a researcher myself, I completely disagree with the above statement.  However, creativity concerns not only to scientific breakthroughs but also for the production of artworks, writings, everyday activities, such as finding new solutions and thinking away from ordinary ideas.  To come up with great findings and ideas, one should break the tunnel vision, become creative and should be able to think out of the box.

anxiety-1Recently, Neuroscientist has found that one can be creative or think out of the box, while getting up from the bed in the morning. They confirmed that the brain region responsible for being creative is highly active during and immediately after sleep, while the analytical parts of the brain become more active as the day goes on. The study looked at morning and evening MRI scans and observed that mornings showed more connections in the prefrontal cortex, which is an important region in the creative process.

Functional connectivity of medial temporal lobe (MTL) changes between morning and night. MTL regions were identified in a search for circadian changes in functional connectivity. Correlations are largely local in the morning, whereas in the evening they extend to prefrontal and posterior parietal default-mode network regions.

Image Credit: Journal of Neuro-Psychology


In the early morning, we are neither fully conscious, nor fully unconscious and hovering around the borderline. The mind is in a great relaxed state at this time by just coming out of the reservoir of consciousness from it. Hence, during this time, we can bring in out-of-the-box thinking swiftly, and effortlessly. In the early morning, without hurriedly getting up from bed, we can bank upon this great moment for creative thinking and look for solutions by naturally toggling between wakeful state and deep sleep state. The alpha/theta waves are more abundant in the brain during the morning when we wake up from our sleep. During sleep, we break away from our memory with a temporary suspension (without thoughts) and while reverting from sleep to the wake-up stage, we are hovering around the borderline.

One important insight is that when we visualize the creative process or ideas during this half sleep/half awake state, those visualizations quickly slip away from our memory and hence, the precious creative ideas need to be written down quickly to preserve them. But the moment we wake up from our sleep and start our daily activity, the intensity of alpha/theta waves fades away very rapidly and goes out of control.

More about Brain Waves

Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electro-physiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain. It is typically noninvasive, with the electrodes placed on the scalp. We can view and analyze the traces of electrical activity in the brain that represent the “brain waves”. Special sensors (electrodes) are attached to the head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records the brain’s electrical activity on the screen. We can measure the waves in cycles per seconds like any other waves. Depending on the frequency of the brain waves, they are divided into 5 distinct categories  known as Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta, and Gamma waves.

Beta Brain Waves

Beta brain waves (13-40 Hz) occur during our normal consciousness when we are awake. All our activities, like in-box thinking, and problem-solving are done with this wave. This is the most prevailing state for all of us.

Alpha Brain Waves

Alpha brain waves (7-13 Hz) occur during the state of relaxation and meditation. The alpha state is associated with creativity and super learning, where the brain learners at a faster and deeper level than it does in beta. This is the instrument for us to carry out-of-the-box thinking.

Theta Brain Waves

Theta waves (4-7 Hz) occur during lucid dreaming. This is the borderline between the conscious and the subconscious part of ourselves. In this state, the mind is capable of deep and profound learning. This is another higher zone for accomplishing out-of-the-box thinking.

Delta Waves

Delta waves (less than 4 Hz) occur during the state of deep sleep and unconsciousness.

Gamma Brain Waves

Gamma waves (40-120 Hz) occur during the state of hyper-alertness, perception and integration of sensory input.

In reality, a combination of the 5 frequencies exists all the time and the frequencies with the highest amplitude determine the current state of mind.  

Mindfulness Increase the power of Being Creative

One can also be creative during the day, just by practicing Mindfulness Meditation. Whenever you feel that the creativity is lost, Mindfulness will help to rejuvenate your body and prepare your mind to be highly creative. In 2011, the Harvard Osher Centre researchers, have found the 8 weeks of Mindfulness Meditation training have significantly increased the alpha waves compared to the control group. When alpha waves are prominent, your sensory inputs tend to be minimized and your mind is generally clear of unwanted thoughts. Thereby, the body and mind experience a relaxed state. Relaxed state of mind is an essential component to be creative. When your brain shifts gears to focus on a specific thought, in either a positive or negative way, alpha oscillations tend to disappear and higher frequency waves begin running the show.

Breaking the Non-habitual thinking Pattern

Creativity like many other skills can be learned, practiced, and improved. It is the place where no one else has ever been. In order to leave your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition to improve creativity, make a point to practice mindfulness every day early morning. When Mindfulness breaks the non-habitual thinking pattern, there arises the Creativity. Then, what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.  



  1. Morning-evening variation in human brain metabolism and memory circuits. B. J. Shannon, R. A. Dosenbach, Y. Su, A. G. Vlassenko, L. J. Larson-Prior, T. S. Nolan, A. Z. Snyder, M. E. Raichle. Journal of Neurophysiology Published 1 March 2013 Vol. 109 no. 5, 1444-1456 DOI: 10.1152/jn.00651.2012.
  2. Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex. Kerr CR, Jones SR, Wan Q, Pritchett DL, Wasserman RH, Wexler A, Villanueva JJ, Shaw JR, Lazar SW, Kaptchuk TJ, Littenberg R, Hamalainen MS, Moore CI.Brain Res Bull. 2011 May 30;85(3-4):96-103. doi:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2011.03.026. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

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