IS CREATIVITY LINKED TO ANXIETY ?
Updated: Mar 23
Being creative is positive, I think we can all agree on that. It's widely associated with being a vibrant, exciting and productive person. Creativity can be many things and you don't have to call yourself an artist to fall under the category: you could perhaps approach life with an open and playful mind, make more of an intention to enjoy conversations with people, cultivate getting stimulated by your own random ideas, sometimes new views or even a smell can trigger that. By allowing yourself to be creative, you are more likely to think outside of the box, and feel resourceful and independent. You could perhaps create beautiful or useful things, bring new concepts to life, join people together, and emanate a fantastic energy that yourself and others will benefit from. What's not to love!
However, like everything in life, things need to find good balance and extremes are not quite sustainable. Being a creative person has downsides like anything else, and a lot happens when the lights go off.
People that are innovative could be seen as dynamic, compelling, and gifted and are typically envied but what happens behind the curtains isn't always that fun. A creative person will most likely be right-brained (intuitive mind) rather than left (analytical and methodical) and be a highly sensitive individual. This means that they view the world through an intense and sometimes obsessive lens and can feel deeply, whatever comes their way ; feelings of others around them, the profound need for self expression and recognition, random events and their environment, their inner self. Creative people have a strong energy flow within them that they need to channel and that can break down in different ways depending on each person's personality and background. This can even cause them to be a little socially awkward by either being too introverted or a tad too extroverted. Creative people can sometimes feel like they are all over the place too in their head and constantly jump from one thing to another. They may experience extremes within their own reality and feel like they can conquer the world some days and create anything, whereas other days they just feel kind of down, isolated and are their worst critics.
In terms of daily routines, I don't think they're naturally the greatest at keeping a schedule and organise things calmly and efficiently. I think a lot of them can feel restless and lack the tools to get some peace, quiet and harmony in their lives to fuel their energy in a healthy and empowering way.
I would certainly not want to support the misconception that all artists are lunatics and difficult to be around because that would simply be false, but I think that a lot of creative folks out their share things like hyperactivity, ADHD, mood swings, stress and anxiety.
I can take my own example: being inspired and full of ideas most of the time can bring so much joy and purpose in my life but it is also overwhelming and I constantly have to juggle between seizing my creativity and make the best of it and then ground myself down for peace of mind. I have a stream of things to do, or say, or write, or film, or plan... and if I am not mindful of my own thoughts and energy driving me, I can quickly notice anxiety within my body. I can find it hard to successfully finish a project if I don't push myself with self discipline, which is not my strength. I often aspire to do great things and I feel like I can do them all, having said that, I often end up creating something that I find great in the spur of a moment, and don't necessarily think much about it after. I'll then go back to it again some other time, and it's like a ceaseless spiderweb being made, connecting one dot to another. It very much comes from instinctive actions, which are genuine and often compelling, yet it is linked with a certain amount of anxiety, hyper chatter of the mind, always thinking about the future and what can be done next, it's challenging to rest and just be. There's like a certain pressure too that comes with it, some sort of arrogance I almost dare to say, were I might think that I have to prove my talent and constantly better my skills.
If you would see me at home you might smile - one minute I am cooking a new recipe, the next I grab my guitar, then start to write passages for a novel, stop later to paint, and next thing you know I'm reading a book about opening a business! This is all great and I embrace who I am, but I believe people like myself can somewhat find it hard to fit in with the rest of the world. We are often misunderstood and take time to find our place within our society. We are also quite impulsive and get the urge of starting something big, without perhaps taking the time to gather the necessary information and preparation. The good thing is that when we do create something wonderful that is valuable, we give others the gift of being touched in magical ways. What would the world be without music, and great films, science discoveries, a mesmerising painting or even the pleasure of a creative food combination?
The truth is, we are all born curious, creative, and lively in a way or another, we just express it in various ways and perhaps each and every one of us has a different depth to it. So you creative peeps out there, hold onto your flow and check out these few tips:
5 things that have helped me to stay creative without the stress and anxiety:
1) First of all, accept yourself for who you are, embrace your gifts and your craziness. Accept the fact that you might sometimes feel and think differently from others, at the end of the day we are all different, yet the same. It's ok and wonderful and you are just the way you are supposed to be. You've got this and you're here to express yourself, so shine that light of yours my friend.
2) Should you be an entrepreneur, digital nomad, freelancer, employed or unemployed, try to cut your day/free time into different parts and keep a certain routine. Perhaps you could decide that every Wednesday between 2-3pm, you always sit down at your desk to write if you are a writer for example. Even if you don't have any inspiration or want to do something else, just.sit.there. After a while, it will become your routine, you will look forward to it and the inspiration AND stillness of the mind will come. Try it out for a month or two and see the changes it can implement in your life, both in productivity and peace.
3) Something that has been a game changer for me is yoga and meditation. I have had great poems or song lyrics come through me while meditating for example and that's because the mind is still, there's no hype in the air, and I am absolutely in touch with my intuition and truest self. It's beautiful and worth the try. A physical yoga practice is great because it stretches your body, brings you to a sacred space that is just for you, and gets you into a nice flow where you are one with everything. It's a moving mediation and enables you to get out of your mind for a while, and empowers you afterwards with a fresh perspective, which can only be good for creativity and self discovery on the long term.
4) I think that relationships are so important and can help us to stay grounded, connected, and healthy. If we are lucky to be well surrounded, with a solid family/friend circle, it's undeniably a good think to interact with them about what we are doing and although you don't necessarily need people's advise or support when it comes to your personal projects, I think it's positive to share time to time and get out of your bubble. You can clearly get inspired by likeminded people with whom you can exchange ideas and get stimulated from, but it's also, if not more important, to spend time with individuals that function differently than you and can teach you something. The point is, interactions with others is the water that will bloom your garden.
5) Last but not least, I would say that it's often hard to get paid for your craft, or reach success right away if you're starting a business for example, or an online presence, but my advise would be to keep doing what you do, listen to your gut and always aim to improve/learn along the way - it's not always about the money, it's about the quality of what you have to offer and how much authenticity you pour into it. The rest will come in time and often will if you do it from a place of absolute joy, hard work, and truthfulness. The universe has a way of opening doors for you when you're ready for it and are putting the right mindset into it (manifestation practices, law of attraction, work well here).
I will end this by one of my favourite quotes:
“Everything you can imagine is real.” - Pablo Picasso.