You wake up, stretch, get a shower, grab some coffee, and start watching YouTube. It may seem-counter intuitive, but if you're trying to get the creative juices flowing, watching something funny or adorable can be the best way to get started.
A study published in Psychological Science demonstrated that beginning your workday with regular news didn't do much to help creative problem solving. Hearing about something tragic or depressing like a natural disaster was even worse. However, viewing something funny or uplifting brought the inspiration:
And while we all should read up on what's going on in the world, it may be better to put that news website or newspaper aside until after the day's work is done. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that subjects who watched brief video clips that made them feel sad were less able to solve problems creatively than people who watched an upbeat video. A positive mood, wrote researcher Ruby Nadler and her co-authors, increases "cognitive flexibility," while a negative mood narrows our mental horizons. The segment that made participants feel worst of all? A news report about an earthquake.
We've known for a while that a little distraction can be good for creativity. As it turns out, you don't necessarily have to feel guilty for spending your first few minutes of the workday messing around on YouTube (so long as the distraction doesn't last too long). To get you started, you can watch the slightly NSFW-language video above or, if you prefer less human humour, you can watch the internet's greatest cat play in boxes.