Have you ever wondered how to improve your imagination? If so, I’ve got the best exercises for imagination. You can practice these exercises to train your creativity.
I use imagination exercises every day. Why? Because of the power of imagination and its ability to make a tremendous impact in your life.
Think about it.
The creative mind is the place where all new ideas and visions are born.
It is only thanks to the creative mind that Gaudi was able to construct the most divine architecture in Sagara Familia, or that Shakespeare was able to distil the essence of man and pen timeless classics like Hamlet, or that Monet was able to take the port of Le Havre France and convert it into his masterpieces. That’s the power of imagination.
Look around at all the inventions we take for granted today. How many items around you were first visualised in someone’s mind?
It is the power of imagination that fuels creativity (read: Meditation For Creativity)
That is why it is such a good idea to start doing some activities to improve your imagination.
And while you are improving your creativity, you might like to improve other areas of your mind too (Read: 10 Mind Training Techniques To Try).
Why Use Imagination Exercises
For thousands of years, people have used exercises to improve imagination.
The ancient spiritual text the Vedas says that imagination is the power through which the gods created the universe and the power that joins the human spirit with the ultimate reality.
To live your ultimate reality, you have to know how to improve your imagination. Exercises will strengthening your creative brain, which will yield significant benefits.
Benefits of being more imaginative
When you train your imagination, you increase your creative mind power.
Creativity is the ability to put things together in a way that results in something new.
When you’re at your most creative, you open up the opportunities in your life. And the more opportunities you have, the further you will go.
Disagree? Just consider the effect imagination has on these three areas of your life:
- Career: A person with a strong vision will be open to ways to improve their career. They will be more likely to create new things, such as products to sell (a big deal for any entrepreneur).
- Dating: Believe it or not, the creative mind affects dating. Yes, you can use the power of your imagination to get more dates. And it has been proven that people are more attracted to creative and imaginative people
- Health: This is truly phenomenal. Science shows people with strong imaginations and heightened levels of creativity are less likely to be stressed, more likely to enjoy good mental health, and better at problem-solving skills.
All of this shows why the creative mind is so important. That’s why it’s a smart strategy to improve your imagination with exercises.
Poet Pablo Neruda famously said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Are you wondering how to improve your imagination? The exercises below are a great place to start.
How To Improve Imagination — Exercises You Should Try
1. Meditation for imagination
One of the best ways how to improve imagination is with meditation.
You can exercise your imagination by practising specific meditation techniques. In particular, “Open meditations”.
Open meditation techniques are meditations in which we open our minds to the entirety of our environment. We are mindful of everything. This strengthens creativity.
Science proves that open meditations are some of the best exercises for improving imagination.
Cognitive psychologists Lorena Colato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University conducted research and discovered that a brief meditation session could have a deep and lasting effect on your creative brain. However, this is only true for “open” meditation techniques (meditations in which you are receptive to your entire environment and to thoughts and sensations).
2. Copy kids
If you want to know how to train your imagination, learn from kids.
Pablo Picasso said: “Everyone starts off as an artist. The trick is staying that way.”
Kids naturally appreciate the power of imagination. They’re always creating stories, drawing pictures, and playing imaginary games. But we stop doing these things as we grow up. That’s why if you don’t start to improve your imagination, you may lose it altogether.
One of the best imagination exercises is to have fun as kids do.
Fun implies a sense of playfulness. Playfulness means a sense of creativity, a sense of messing around, changing things, and experimenting.
Be creative. Have fun.
2b. Video games develop your creative faculties
Scientific research suggests that video games could strengthen imagination and creativity.
Some genres of games are better at this than others.
Creative games like Snipperclips for the Nintendo Switch, for instance, teach you to be more creative and artistic.
Fantasy games like Dragon Age and Final Fantasy show you amazing fantastical lands and characters, inspiring your creative mind.
And some games get you to draw or to be creative in other ways (Minecraft, for instance).
3. Make use of some daily brain training activities.
4. Enhance your imagination in the shower
In his groundbreaking book, Wired To Create, Scott Barry Kaufman says that 72% of people have creative insights in the shower.
We usually shower alone in an isolated environment with few distractions—the perfect relaxing environment for opening the imagination to new ideas.
The sound of the water mixed with the massaging of the body makes us highly relaxed. And a relaxed mind is a creative mind.
To train your imagination, take a truly relaxing shower with some aromatherapy soaps.
How to improve your imagination in the shower:
- Meditate on the sound of the water
- Be mindful of the feeling of washing your body
- Breathe in the warm air
- Smell the fresh scents of the soap
- Relax because a relaxed mind is a creative mind.
5. Use this visualisation exercise for imagination
Another of my favourite ways to improve imagination is with an exercise in visualisation.
Visual imagination is the ability to perceive mental images.
For instance, I’m currently writing a fantasy novel. It’s full of lots of elaborate fantasy worlds. When I write, I step into those worlds. I’ve always had an insanely powerful creative mind, so when I write, I see my fictional world around me. That’s visual imagination.
Here’s one technique I use to train my visual imagination:
Visual Imagination Exercise
1) Start by closing your eyes and taking a few calming breaths just to silence the thoughts of the day.
2) Visualise that you are stepping into a specific room of your house. You open the door and turn to the left. What do you see? Take your time to visualise the walls, any furniture, windows etc. This should take a minute or two. Allow yourself to see the colours of this side of the room, the shapes, the general outline of the room and so on.
3) Now proceed to the next wall and repeat the process. Repeat this process for each wall of the room, so you are taking a minute or two to paint a mental picture in your mind’s eye of each side of the room.
4) Once you have viewed each side of the room, allow yourself to fill in the details. Are there any items left out? Is anything out of place? Are the lights on or off? Allow yourself to see these details.
5) Open your eyes and try to recall the same mental picture. You will find it harder because information from your environment is interfering with the mental picture. The more you practice this exercise, the more you will be able to use your creative mind while your eyes are open, which will significantly help you to think clearly in your day to day life.
I do this exercise once a week. It’s a great way to increase the power of your imagination. But you might be wondering: Why do you want to imagine the rooms of your house?
The exercise is a means to an end. When you can visualise your house easily, you’ll be able to visualise other things. It will help you to see what’s in your mind’s eye more clearly. It’s only by visualising the details of my own home that I’ve trained my imagination to be able to see the feathers of a griffin in flight when writing my novel, or the facial contours of the snow wolf that is one of my main characters.
You can also use this to help you with visualisations. One of the best psychological exercises you can do is to visualise your path to success, and you will be more effective at that when you practise this exercise (if you’d like to know more about this, read at my guide to training your subconscious mind).
6: Practice Yoga
Read our guide to using yoga for creativity.
7: Read and watch fantasy to open your mind
Scientific research shows that reading or watching fiction that is highly imaginative opens your mind and strengthens your creativity. Think the Harry Potter series or anything Terry Pratchett.
The best genre for this is the fantasy genre.
Reading fantasy novels is one of the best imagination exercises you can do.
Fantasy books are packed full of highly imaginative scenes and are perhaps the most creatively-liberating genre of novels.
Alternatively, watch highly creative movies. These can be movies that are highly creative in themselves (Inception, for instance), or movies that show a character being highly creative (such as Amadeus).
Ryan Niemic is a positive psychologist who conducted research showing that the movies we watch have a profound impact on our mind. Watching movies that strongly portray a specific character strength can inspire that strength in ourselves
In his book Positive Psychology At The Movies, Niemiec states that the best movies for imagination are:
- A Beautiful Mind
- Cast Away
- Edward Scissorhands
8: Torrance Test Of Creative Thinking
In the 1960s, psychologist Ellis Paul Torrance came up with the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking . He uses this as a IQ test for creative thinking. The idea is to take the line drawings and turn them into complete images, trying to be imaginative.
9: Draw your hand
Creative coach Mark McGuniess  recommends drawing a picture of what you actually see rather than what you think you see. It’s a direct observation technique. To do it, grab a pencil and paper and draw your hand while only looking at your hand(not at the paper).
The best way to improve your imagination and strengthen your creativity is by having fun. Kids are the masters of imagination. They are always playing, learning, finding new ways to do things, and enjoying highly imaginative games, books and movies.
If you’re a parent, I advise you to spend more time with your kids, because they will open your imagination. And if you don’t have kids, just try to have fun in general. Be playful and creative.
As an artist, actor, writer, poet, and journalist, I’ve used my creative mind professionally for many years. And honestly, every single time I’ve come up with a new idea that knocked my socks off, it’s been while I was messing around and having a laugh. There’s a reason for that. It’s because, neurologically, feats of the imagination require neuroplasticity.
Imagination exercises all increase your neuroplasticity.
The creative mind depends on the ability to inject entropy into your mind, to mess things up, to come up with new ideas rather than sticking to the same-old thought patterns.
But that’s just a smart way of saying that you should let go, have fun, and open your imagination to all those beautiful possibilities that kids seem to see everywhere, but which we adults somehow forget.
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5: Torrance Test Of Creative Thinking, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellis_Paul_Torrance
6: Break Through Creative Blocks with this Unconventional Drawing Technique, Mark McGuinness https://lateralaction.com/articles/creative-block-drawing/