How are eating, listening to music and being creative linked? Interestingly enough, consuming the right food, sometimes known as “brain food”, helps to develop the creative brain. Likewise, listening to the right type of music can also increase your creative intelligence.

Numerous studies have shown that a healthy diet can increase your brain power. Here are some foods that can help boost your creativity:

* Water. Drink lots of water as it is an efficient conductor of electrical energy. It facilitates communication between the brain and the nervous system.

* Fruits and vegetables. Bananas, oranges, apricots, avocados and peaches are rich in potassium and glucose. They provide energy to your brain.

* Nuts, seeds and whole grains. Nuts and whole grains contain lecithin that is said to improve memory. It is found in peanuts, soya beans and wheat germ. Corn oil has linoleic acid, which is said to prevent memory loss, feelings of confusion and hallucinations. Eat whole grains, where only the husk is removed. Polished rice removes minerals, vitamin B and most of the protein, leaving only the carbohydrate.

* Fish. Research claims fish is “brain food”. The polyunsaturated fats in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardine, apparently make brain cells more flexible. This allows electrical signals to pass from cell to cell more rapidly, and has an impact on your creative intelligence.

In addition to the food you eat, listening to the right type of music — particularly baroque music of the 17th and 18th century — also helps to boost your creativity levels.

Baroque music is played at 55 to 65 beats per minute and has a frequency of 5,000 hertz. Apparently, this causes the body to be relaxed but the mind to stay alert, encouraging the flow of ideas. Composers of baroque music include Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli, Handel, Telemann, Albinoni and Pachelbel.

Barriers to creativity

Another way to promote creative thinking, especially on a larger scale — such as an office environment — is to remove the barriers that stifle creativity.

Some common barriers to creativity include stress, negative attitudes, fear of failure, too many rules in place with penalties for those who do not follow them, making assumptions and an over-reliance on logic.

To promote creativity in the office, do not issue killer phrases that discourage staff from trying. Examples of these are:

* “We have tried that before”;

* “Good idea in theory but not practical”;

* “Let’s get back to reality”;

* “You will make us a laughing stock; we have always done things this way”; or

* “It can’t be done”.

The list goes on.

Instead, senior management should provide employees with nurturing words, like:

* “Can we improve on it? What have we missed?”;

* “Let’s look at this from another angle”; or

* “Let me offer another solution”.

A good example of an encouraging mindset is a memo that was issued by a senior executive in General Motors, which read: “Before you kill an idea, any idea, let’s find at least three good reasons why it can be done.”

Learn from nature

Nature offers many creative lessons. Sometimes, all it takes is to observe nature closely and borrow ideas that are already working well there.

For example, Clarence Birdseye found frozen salmon in the lake and cooked it at home, only to find it tasted just as delicious as the fresh ones. This gave rise to the idea of frozen food.

Engineers learnt the principles of independent suspension from observing the way spiders spin their webs. Earthworms demonstrated how tunnelling could be done without the ground collapsing. Linear motors are modelled after the conical shell. Ball and socket joints are patterned after bone structures.

So if you are looking to be more creative, the first step is to devote yourself to developing your creative side. Then start on a project that demands a different approach — and get your brain fired up looking for solutions.