Combating Stress: The Creativity Killer

April 27, 2018


You know how it goes. You give yourself a deadline to create content, you get stuck, you stress out about being stuck, so you give yourself a new deadline, which just creates more stress, and…… the vicious cycle continues. Sound familiar?

Creativity is stifled for many reasons, but the biggest culprit is stress. We all know that stress is harmful to our bodies and minds in a multitude of ways. There is no good side effect of being stressed out (unless it somehow inspires us to find way to reduce it). Yet we find ourselves getting continually stressed out over a variety of things in our personal and professional lives. Stress is incredibly damaging to our body, mind, and spirit. So how do we reduce the stress in our lives?

Identify what you can control

Repeat after me, friends:

The only things I can control are my thoughts, my actions, and my reactions.

Real talk, y’all. Most of the things that we stress about are not in our control. Other people’s problems and responses, the traffic outside, the delayed pizza delivery person…… all out of our control. Take stock of the things that are stewing in your brain, and ask yourself “Can I control this?” If the answer is yes, create a plan to remove the worry. It doesn’t mean you have to implement the plan right then, but just seeing an actionable list can help reduce your stress. If the answer is no, then make like Elsa and LET. IT. GO. Athletes are often some of the best folks to live this in this way (not always). They are literally drilled to forgot about the previous play and to focus only on the next shot, down, play or moment in their game. In the same vein, making a conscious effort to sort your worries into control/can’t control categories will cut your worry in half.

Take a nap

Our bodies have this ridiculous built in mechanism that goes off every time we get stressed. When that stress switch is flipped, our system is flooded with a variety of physical changes meant to keep the body on alert. But you know what the stress trigger isn’t good for? REST. That’s right, your body physically can’t get to a restful state when you are stressed. And the more you are stressed, the more time is required to come down from that stress flood. Habitual stress can cause chronic rest problems. And sleep is the foundation of everything in our life. Our physical and emotional health, our creativity, even our reflexes, all depend on having adequate rest. So get some rest. Go to bed earlier. Schedule some nap time.

Find ways to quiet the mind

If you want to reduce your stress and open up your creative channels, then you need to make some changes. You can’t keep doing the same things and expecting new results. So try some new things! Take a pottery class, add a morning/evening meditation to your day, make 1000 paper cranes (meditative in it’s own way). Find an activity that soothes your mind and your soul, and allows you to move from a place of stress and worry into a place of calm and peace. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive; just something that helps you release stress. Personally, I am a big fan of coloring. I have a variety of books that help me tune out everything except what color I’m putting where. Whatever works for you.

If you want to keep your well of creativity from drying up, make a concerted effort to reduce the stress in your life. Your wellbeing, your spirit, and your work are worth it.

How do you reduce stress in your life?

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