With all the seriousness of life obligations, such as work assignments, social commitments and life-altering decisions, it’s important to have an outlet for when we feel anxious or stressed. Not only do these types of activities boost our creativity and uplift our spirits, but they can also positively impact our abilities to think outside the box and be more productive.

Encouraging a sense of play can help open the mind to new opportunities and experiences, ones that can make us feel connected to our surroundings and inspired to feed our curiosity and accomplish new feats. Creating healthy balance of work and recreation can nourish the soul, keep the mind alert, and instill a childlike essence that can carry over into other facets of your life. In fact, having an escape from the homogeneity and gravity of work will actually allow you to excel, as it can pave the way for personal expression, imagination and innovation. Here are nine ways to boost your creativity and spirit, so that you can feel happier and more productive in whatever comes your way.

  1. Doodle Throughout The Day

While doodling might have been frowned upon when growing up in grade school, it’s actually a terrific way to boost creativity and let the imagination wander. Taking out a notepad or app and setting aside time to draw a little in between work assignments might open your mind to thinking of projects in a new and exciting way. No artistic talents necessary!

  1. Go For A Walk

Experts share that a brisk walk and fresh air can clear the mind and make us feel connected to nature and inspired by its beauty. Whenever you are feeling sluggish or stressed, take a quick ten minute walk outside and let that fresh oxygen pulse through your body and lift your spirits. Connect with your thoughts, and see where they end up taking you.

  1. Listen To Upbeat Music

Not only does music boost our moods and make us feel happier (if we have an awesome playlist, of course!), but it also can channel our creativity stores and make us feel inclined to try something new and exciting. Listen to the lyrics, and let them resonate inside of you. You can even bust a few moves—research shows that dancing can boost circulation and endorphins, which can make us more creative.

  1. Hit The Gym

If you’re able to squeeze in a workout, you will be more likely to think creatively and increase productivity and mental focus during the day. Studies show that exercise boosts endorphins, “feel good” hormones, which can affect our moods and way of thinking. If you’re stuck in a rut during a project, set aside fifteen minutes to do a few HIIT moves or head to the gym during lunch hour.

  1. Eat A Piece Of Fruit

Experts suggest that Steve Jobs ate fruit as a great way to increase productivity and creativity. That seems pretty trustworthy, right? Due to fruits’ high tyrosine content, it can boost mental alertness, increase our moods and allow us to think deeply about more abstract and creative topics, such as innovation and art. Munch on an apple or banana for an afternoon snack, or toss some berries in a Greek yogurt.

  1. Mediate & Unwind

According to experts, meditating can boost brain power and help us get in tune with the thoughts that we don’t normally consume our minds with during the day. Rather than thinking of work stress and interpersonal conflicts, we can free our minds of such clutter and focus on our sense of being and our deeper feelings. Mediation can also lower stress levels over time, leading us to feel more inspired, happy and productive.

  1. Look At The Color Blue

Oddly enough, different colors can evoke distinct feelings in the mind. Research suggests that the color blue can make us feel relaxed and more creative, so it’s worth a shot purchasing a blue key chain, bag or wallet that you can see every day. Let the color expand your imagination and take you into greater depth of thought.

  1. Keep A Thought Journal

Studies show that keeping track of your creative thoughts can build a repertoire of inspirational tidbits that you can rely upon in times of stress. No matter how wild or unconventional an image might be, jot it down and allow your mind to consider the possibilities of it coming to life. Such passion and excitement will then translate into your work. 

  1. Have (A Little) Alcohol

Having a glass or two of wine after a busy day at work can relax the mind and allow us to explore our creative side. Red wine, in particular, contains resveratrol, which contains anti-oxidants to make us feel happier, and can be beneficial for brain health. Enjoy in moderation to unleash a little play and personal expression.