Are you finding yourself not creating as often as you would like? Do you find yourself avoiding the art studio or your laptop altogether? Procrastinating much? Do you have a tough time deciding which creative project to start? Finding it difficult to complete a creative project? Resisting marketing your creativity project or product?
If you find yourself with one or more of these symptons, you may be have creative anxiety. According to author and creativity coach, Dr. Eric Maisel, creative anxietiy is "this kind of 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 know about it." Couple this with the uncertainty of a nearly two year old pandemic, socioeconomic crisis and social unrest, our ability to create at all can be at stake.
Just about every creative gets some form of creative anxiety at some point in their life. The trick is to find a way to deal with it when it rears it's ugly head so you don't become or stay immobile as a result. Creative anxiety is designed to keep you from being productive creatively....or the spend circles in fear, procrastination, "research" for your project or just not attempting anything at all.
So what can you do to deal with creative anxiety? Here's a few ideas:
1. Adopt mindful habits to deal with your creative anxiety: Mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga nidra, and other similar activities can help immensely. If you are embarking on a creative endeavor, consider getting into the habit of doing a guided meditation focusing on creativity that will help relax your mind and focus on the task at hand. If time is a factor, a series of deep breathing exercises (breathing in from the nose and out from the mouth) can help as well.
2. High vibe sounds: Consider having a playlist of favorite songs or music that inspires your creative impulses readiy when you begin to work on your creative project. I find certain music like low-fi hip hop or jazz helpful when I am writing. I like classic rock when I am creating. Some people like classical or acoustic sounds. Find what suits you and have it available when you create or write.
3. Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy, which is also known as essential oil therapy is defined as a "holistic healing treatment that uses essential oils to improve the health of body, mind and spirit." Essential oils are made using natural plant extracts by steaming or pressing different parts of a plant and then capturing the compound which produces the fragrance. Aromatherapy has many benefits including helping reduce stress and anxiety. By placing a few drops in aromatherapy diffuser, on your skin (check to see if the oil is safe to do so or needs a "carrier" oil), or in the bath, the fragrance can help with creative anxiety before working on a project. Some oils to consider include wild orange, lemon, tangerine, lavendar, peppermint, sandalwood, jasmine, bergamont, chaomile, and ylang ylang.
4. Perfectionism: As creatives we all want our work to be a near perfect as possible. Quality control is imperative. However, an obession with perfection can put us in a hamster wheel that can force us to never finish a project or get stuck because it's not "good enough". Find a way to relax and write an affirmation that you can see that addresses that doing the best you can is enough or that all your efforts are enough. Work with that affirmation to help overcome the anxiety that if things are not perfect it will never be ready to be completed or sent to the world.
Creative anxiety can get the best of us but also can be overcome. How do you deal with your creative anxiety? What would you add to this list?
While it's true that some people are born with a creative mind, it doesn't mean that creative thinking can't be learned and developed. You may even believe that you don't have a creative bone in your body, but this simply isn't true. If you weren't capable of some type of creative thinking, you'd be a robot!
Believing In Yourself
The first step toward creative thinking is the belief that you can acquire and develop the
skill. The truth is that, if you continue to set up a mental roadblock and tell yourself that you can't think creatively, you'll never get past this first step. When you truly believe in yourself, you also open up doors. The possibilities are endless just because you decided to give creative thinking a shot.
In order to foster creativity in your life, start thinking about where you want to apply
your newfound creativity. It'll help, at least at first, to have a specific goal instead of the
broad goal of just "thinking" creatively overall. You might start with discovering better solutions to common problems at the office, or you might want to broaden your horizons with an artistic goal in your free time.
No matter what your goal is, try applying some of these creativity boosting tips:
1. Spend time brainstorming. When looking for ideas for a project - or solutions to a
challenge - write down everything that comes to mind without holding back. Don't
worry about logistics or staying organized; just let your mind go free.
• Another form of brainstorming that might be worth a try is free writing: just pick up a
pen and let your mind go wild on the topic of your choice. Tell yourself that you can't
pause or put the pen down; you must keep writing. You'll be surprised at what you can
unload from your brain during a free writing session!
2. Change your surroundings. You may have noticed that your patterns of thinking
change when you're in different places. If you find that your mind is stuck, try
changing your environment. Go out for some fresh air or hang out in a coffee shop. It
may be just what you need in order to discover a new and exciting idea.
3. Take notes. Always carry some kind of note taking device with you, whether it's
paper or a mobile device. Record your ideas as they come to you, no matter
where you are at the time. Creative thoughts can come and go, but if you write
them down you won't forget them.
4. Research your topics. Even though it may seem boring, you can do some research
online. When you do, you'll learn that knowledge is power and it'll enable your brain
to get to a place it wouldn't normally have gone.
• Enjoy the journey and always follow your love of learning. Research will always
provide you with new angles of thought.
Consider Other Perspectives
While everyone comes with their own unique set of abilities and opinions, when you
develop your creativity, you learn how to come up with new ideas and solve
problems from different points of view.
No matter what challenge you're faced with, spend time considering the perspective of others. While you might not share the opinion of another, see if you can figure out how or why they have that view. Think about how they feel. Developing this empathy will keep your mind open, which will always foster creativity. When you get into the habit of using these tips often, you'll be pleased to see outbursts of creativity!
As we navigate what is considered a "new normal", our ability to move forward with our creative practice is imperative for our well-being. In addition ito other daily activities, a morning pages or journaling practice is one way to stay centered and connect to our creative muse.
The phrase "morning pages" was made popular by Julia Cameron, the best-selling author of the book The Artist's Way in the early 90s. Morning pages are a stream-of-consciousness longhand journaling which is done first thing every morning on a daily basis. The idea is use the writing to as a mind "dump" of any thoughts that come out of your head as a way to start your day on a clean slate. Julia Cameron, created this approach to journaling as a way for people to spark their creativity and move past their creative blocks.
"Writing in a journal is an act of self-expression that is done periodically to record feelings and inspire ideas. Morning pages serve a deeper purpose. This type of journaling is a cathartic, ritualistic writing process that clears your mind, builds confidence, and creates a path for greater creativity."-Masterclass.com
Whether you choose to write the morning pages or some kind of daily journaling practice, there are four benefits for maintaining this kind of ritual:.
1. A daily writing practice helps you to clear your mind.
2. sA daily writing practice helps you to process emotion.
3. A daily writing practice can help you spark your creativity.
4. A daily writing practice can help silence your inner critic.
Want to start a daily morning pages or journaling practice but not sure how to start?
Or do you have a daily practice but not sure how it can unleash your creativity?