What can we do to change our responses? In a recent article posted on his Talent Development Resources site, Dougles Eby features several professionals who address anxiety and creativity. I don’t know anyone among my creative colleagues who has not dealt with anxiety in one form or another. This post may give you some insight into the world of creative anxiety.
Heidi Hanna, PhD is the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress. She writes in an article on her site about one way we can help ourselves deal with stress: humor
“A few years ago, thanks to my friends at the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, I was introduced to a new type of “mental massage” – one that enhances circulation to parts of the brain that often get left out of our day to day activities, such as perceiving amusement, irony and joy.
“Healthy humor is like massage for the brain. It initiates the relaxation response, shifting brain chemistry towards positivity, creativity, and collaboration.
“Physically, humor decreases levels of toxic cortisol and inflammation in the brain and body, while increasing neural efficiency, energy production, circulation, and overall health.
“Our current chaotic and constantly connected society is filled with stressful triggers that keep our brain-body systems stuck in a state of chronic stress, speeding up the development of both physical and mental disabilities and illness.”
In his book Mastering Creative Anxiety, creativity coach and psychologist Eric Maisel, PhD asks,
“Are you creating less often than you would like? Are you avoiding your creative work altogether? Do you procrastinate? That’s anxiety.
“Do you resist getting to your work or marketing your work? That’s anxiety.
“Do you have trouble deciding which creative project to tackle? That’s anxiety. Do you find completing work hard? That’s anxiety.”
In his many years of counseling as a psychotherapist, he has found, “Anxiety regularly stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable.
“It stops would-be creative people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams. Anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face — and yet few even realize it.”
In his book he describes “many of the sources of anxiety in a creative person’s life” and provides “little-known anxiety-management techniques” to help you manage that anxiety.
One of the challenges creative people face that affects anxiety is meaning. One related video clip:
One measure of fighting anxiety I have found to help is to break up my anxiety into pieces. Since I may not be able to deal with the entire problem at a single sitting, I’ll be more likely to deal with the individual pieces. What’s really worrying me and why? If I can answer this, I’ll know how to better deal with the factors that make up the problem . . . and my worry.
Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!
Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.