Creative Anxiety and Stress: I’m dictating my thoughts on creative anxiety and stress, while I’m finishing up the painting that will accompany this post. By now, if you live anywhere on the planet, you’ve been exposed to mostly ghastly news and information, courageously brought to you from agenda driven content creators. I don’t believe it was served up to impact your creativity, but we all know it emphatically does. The new abnormal brings with it challenging times for the creatively gifted.
Most of the spontaneous paint work on my painting is done now, and onto the repetitive brushstrokes. These detail brushstrokes are laborious and time-consuming, giving one the opportunity to think about the world we live in. Random thoughts come and go most are not related to the work at hand. Drifting from the thoughts and the physical mechanics of pushing paint onto the previously prepared surface, doesn’t create much need to focus at this stage.
What is the creative mind to do? It drifts from focused thoughts to random thinking like the oceans ebb and flow, pushing and pulling debris from the deepest sea to the shores of creative thinking. Controlling the creative process is never a solid phenomenon, especially when our minds and hearts are filled with anxieties, that permeate our normal course of temperament, and bleeds out of us; uncontrollable stresses, gating our performance.
Anxiety; and its abiding partner stress, are especially fond of people who innovate and conceive beauty in all of its artistic forms. Not even hypnosis nor self generated mind control, can totally remove anxiety and stress from our thoughts. Wringing your hands, distorting your expression or maybe even pulling your hair, will do little to calm the spirit. Once those punishing demons decide to take over your thoughts; it becomes a battle of the wills; you may think of it as good versus evil, and you can never truly know who will become victorious in this battle; that seems to besiege all but the most innocent.
Is there a way to defeat anxiety and stress, especially the kind that loves to attack creative people? This is what I know for sure, and not because of my own personal self indulgence. Alcohol and sedatives are not the answer, they only provide a temporary abatement, that often brings on a whole another set of stresses, when they take their dissolving course.
In my own experience and from anecdotal evidence and comments from others, I have learned the following strategies to help stave off anxiety and stresses that are hell-bent on damning the creative mind. Rule number one: give yourself a break, no one is perfect all the time, in fact a good percentage of us rarely achieve that goal ever. Rule number two: creativity hates rules period! So forget all the rules, you will never read a book that will totally absolve you from stress and anxiety. Nature built that into our brains as a protective mechanism. I’m not going into all of the scientific reasons why, a simple Google search will give you more than you will ever want to know; as to the why’s and the how comes.
I sometimes believe that creativity needs a certain amount of anxiety and stress. Those two cronies force us into areas of self evaluation and focus; after all you can’t be creative until you clean out junked up thoughts. I’m not truly certain that clarified thoughts are the catalyst to creativity. It’s almost like being totally awake in a dream state when some of the very best ideas percolate to the surface, and force an uncontrollable urge to make the impossible into something that is possibly and often is stunningly beautiful, no matter what creative discipline that is embraced.
I know what you’re thinking; anxiety and stress on many occasions, has pulverized and decimated your creative thoughts. It can become overwhelmingly debilitating. Creativity doesn’t cotton up to rules, but here is just one more: work, work, and work. Start, start, and start the work. The process and committing to a task full challenge, will flush the negative effects of anxiety and stress out of your mind and preferably to a location beneath your feet, to be walked all over as you immerse yourself in the joys of creativity and the beautiful accomplishments it brings with it.
You; we, and me, are not destined to be ruled by creative anxiety and stress. As the insightful sage suggests “it’s all in your head” it will come and go like the before mentioned oceans tides… It comes and it goes; because we are all vulnerable humans, that live with blessings and curses of our own preconceived uncontrollable notions. There is solace in the deliberate act of any form of positive work. Creativity thrives on hard work, primarily because it demands focus. Attention to details both large and small crush negative thoughts.
Hard work focused on creativity is normal, it doesn’t much care what’s going on around us and especially in an abnormal world. Work to be focused, and be focused on your work: it’s a recipe that is available to all who choose to stamp out, flog, smother, disengage, and override the distractive effects of creative anxiety and stress.
You can do this after all “it’s all in your head” the choice is yours, the demon is real, but it’s no match for creative work or should I say the joys derived from working creatively.