Ever caught yourself staring off into space fretting about whether or not you’ll be able to finish a project by it’s ever looming deadline? Chances are you’re a creatively-driven individual who, like all of us, gets a little stressed out sometimes and are not exactly sure how to deal with those feelings. While we can’t just avoid the things in our lives that cause us stress, we can learn how to notice the symptoms of stress and channel that anxiety into more productive, creative outlets.
How To Recognize Stress and Anxiety
It’s different for everybody, but here are a couple tell-tale signs that you may be suffering from anxiety:
- Constant Worry or Fear
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Sweating/Feeling Flushed
- Tense Muscles
- Self Doubt/Self Consciousness
- Panic Attacks
What is the Underlying Cause of These Feelings?
Root causes are completely subjective to the individual so you might want to take a moment the next time you notice the above symptoms and really consider what lead to them. Procrastinating your work even though the deadline is approaching? Excessively cleaning your apartment while fretting about an upcoming performance? These are very natural ways we react to our stress but the problem with them is that they don’t force us to engage the issue, and until we do that, we’re going to keep perpetuating the cycle.
How To Channel that Energy Creatively
So what are you to do the next time you catch yourself feeling unmotivated and uninspired? Here are a couple tips to aid you in channeling that nervous energy creatively.
1) Free write/free draw. Take a break. Let yourself be free from the limitations of your work and remember that you’re a creative individual because you love it, not because you “have to finish it”. Have some fun with it!
2) Take a walk. The world around us is the most inspiring community we have, and it doesn’t cost a penny to experience. Take yourself on a nice long walk, observe the people around you, smell the flowers and feel that cool summer breeze. You may even come across a meadow that inspires the setting for your next chapter.
3) Consider your dreams. What was it about painting that inspired you to begin with? Did you see the Mona Lisa and felt compelled to pick up a brush? Get back to basics, maybe take some time to go to a museum and check out a new exhibit.
4) Review your earliest works. Sometimes we get so stuck and focused in the moment that we start to doubt our talents. Keep a folder of your earlier works – the first sketch you ever drew or the first short story you ever wrote. Review it and reflect on just how far you’ve come.
We are never going to live without obstacles and obstacles are stressful, but by changing the way we view these challenges we will give ourselves to ability to succeed. Digging deep within yourself honestly and learning why you’re feeling stressed is ultimately the first step to working past it. As we begin to understand, the more manageable our stress will be and the more in control we’ll feel, making it much easier to turn our negative energy into productive, creative energy.