How do you stimulate your human creative growth hormone?
Human physiology and artistic growth
For fun, I’ve been studying human physiology— going on Google and searching “Physiology PDF” and reading physiology textbooks. The reason: I want to figure out the kink between the human body, creativity, artistic stimulus, the human mind, and the creative muscle.
Leonardo da Vinci was the master — he studied human physiology (drawing muscles, skeletons, and studying human cadavers) to make better paintings. I think as photographers, the more we can study and understand the human biology, the better artists we can become.
There is a human growth hormone called IGF-1 that gets secreted in our system from challenging exercise, from fasting, and during deep cycles of sleep. This is a hormone which repairs our muscles, and makes us grow stronger.
Which made me wonder: how can we apply this concept to creativity?
1. Challenging artistic exercise
To grow as an artist, challenge yourself in your visual art. Make more challenging and difficult photographs. Try to learn new forms of visual art (painting, sculpture, drawing, sketching, or even doodling), and avoid any boring plateaus. To me, I prefer deadlifts in the gym instead of boring exercise machines or “jogging”.
I prefer sprinting over jogging as well—and it stimulates your body more (they call this HIIT— high intensity interval training). So aim for EXTREME CHALLENGES and lots of rest in your art, to stimulate your own artistic growth hormones.
2. Intermittent fasting
If you’re in a period of fasting from food, your body gets stronger. It breaks down weaker proteins in your body (called “autophagy”— where your stronger proteins eat your weaker proteins, kind of like a vacuum cleaner effect).
So an idea: to stimulate your artistic growth hormone, FAST from art, images, music, or any other forms of artistic stimulus. Allow yourself to go artistically hungry… then perhaps some inner-artistic hormone will start being produced in your system, which can be your stimulus to artistic creation.
I take a lot of naps when I’m tired. I find when I even take a brief 5-15 minute nap, I get TONS of creative ideas. They say that your best creative ideas happening when you allow yourself to “do nothing” (go on a long walk without listening to music, taking a shower, or taking a nap). My theory: your brain is MORE ACTIVE while you’re sleeping or resting, then when you’re awake— because your brain and body is synthesizing information to incorporate into your brain and memory.
Every good bodybuilder or power lifter knows that your muscles grow not when you’re lifting weights, but while you’re resting, recovering, and eating lots of lamb chops. Your body NEEDS rest, recuperation, and rebuilding to become stronger. We are ORGANIC creatures, not machines.
Take a look at lions: they hunt, kill an antelope, feast, then take a nap for the rest of the time. Otherwise, they’re hungry, sharp, keen, and ready to attack.
I think we should be the same as photographers and artists— we must be hungry and sharp and keen when we’re hungry to make new art, and to “visually hunt” on the streets. But as a reward, you must eat a lot, sleep a lot, and rebuild your creative energy and forces.
Therefore, don’t milk yourself to death. You must let your creative udders recharge, with rest, and additional creative nutrition.
I think there is a deep connection between your physical health, your mental health, and your creative health.
That means, be active physically, mentally, and creatively — to become a stronger, happier, and more productive visual artist.
Be careful what kind of food and creative artwork you ingest. I recommend in photography, studying the masters of photography (pick up a copy of LEARN FROM THE MASTERS), or any artists that inspire you.
Also, be careful what you eat. Avoid sugar, starchy foods, or any foods that don’t digest with you. Eat foods that make you feel strong. Eat foods that have lots of good nutritional content. Personally, my diet is mostly meat, eggs, veggies, and I abstain from starch and sugar. I drink lots of water, tea, coffee, and try to do most of my creative work while standing. Also I love chin-ups and deadlifts.
Anyways, remember that your creativity is a muscle:
Use it or lose it.