If you're working on a project that demands a burst of inspiration, try turning down the lights. So say German researchers who conclude that "darkness increases freedom from constraints, which in turn promotes creativity," reports Pacific Standard, picking up on a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The researchers put test subjects in rooms with dim, normal, and bright lighting and found that the first group performed best on problems that required outside-the-box thinking.
Now the tricky part: Once you generate that amazing idea, it's best to turn the lights back on. It seems that analytical thinking—which you'll need to implement your brainstorm—doesn't do so well in the dark. And finally, if you can't control the dimness of light in your room, just think about being in the dark for about five minutes before tackling your problem, suggest the researchers. They swear it does the trick, too. (Read more creativity stories.)