“A relaxed mind is a creative mind.” Yogi Teabag Tag
Stress – this word everywhere! I hear people talking about it at Starbucks or on line.
Anxiety, restlessness, a sense of foreboding – however you capture this unwelcome feeling, it’s not hard to see why it’s a creativity buster. When you’re stressed, you’re often in a mental mind loop, playing the same story over and over – not exactly a reipe for originality. And when you’re feeling anxious, you’re constricted both physically and mentally, which makes it hard to set yourself free to write.
What to do, what to do? Some practical skills that scientists have passed on to U.S. soldiers to help them become more resilient to stress may help us as well:
Gain perspective: When we’re worried, most of us tend to focus on the worst outcome for a situation we’re facing. Trying to chase away these thoughts usually doesn’t help, but taking a look at their opposite can. So here’s a plan: Jot down the worst-case scenarios on paper to get them out of your system, then spend time writing down the best-case scenarios. Writing all this down not only focuses your thinking, it can also pull you out of a negative spiral. Once you’re feeling more balanced, you can begin looking more honestly at the most likely outomes, which usually fall somewhere in the middle.
Take action: Purposeful action is the sword that undercuts anxiety: It’s the biggest tool in your resiliency kit bag. If you feel stressed that you are not putting enough time into your writing, then work out a schedule for a week and build in creativity sessions to get back on track. If you’re stuck on a plot point, take a friend to lunch and brainstorm together. If a problem at home is plaguing you, then figure out small steps you can take to whittle it down and take them.
Find joy: Abundant research shows that people who cultivate positive emotions meet adversity better than those who don’t. Look for and savor small, enjoyable moments in your day. “Joy and gratitude can help inoculate you against the paralyzing effects of anxiety,” notes one researcher.
Gather your resources: When you hit a roadblock, arm yourself to meet it by identifying your strengths and making a list of them. Then identify and list the strengths of the people you rely on. Now combine them: When you can draw not only from your own skills and strengths, but also those of the people who care about you, you can come up with a powerful package.
Resilience rocks! Let’s take time to cultivate it as we all write on!