Archives for Mental Health
Anxiety impacts many people, but may be especially prevalent and acute for those who are creative, gifted and highly sensitive. Psychotherapist Diana Pitaru writes, "Anxiety is a common emotion experienced by creative people and while some of the symptoms may be similar from one person to the next, how and when people experience anxiety differs widely."
As musician Alanis Morissette points out, “We’re taught to be ashamed of confusion, anger, fear and sadness, and to me they’re of equal value as happiness, excitement and inspiration.” The image is the character 'Sadness' in the wonderful movie Inside Out, which portrays how we can make positive use of all our emotions.
The host of the Psychotherapy 2.0 online training summit, Diane Poole Heller, PhD, notes: "We've brought together some of the most respected names in the field—visionaries such as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Dr. Diana Fosha, Jack Kornfield, Gay and Katie Hendricks, Steven Hayes, and Richard Schwartz."
Depending on how we look at it, stress can both stimulate and disrupt creativity. Many artists may use stressful situations and emotional turmoil in their creative work, but stress and emotions such as anxiety can interfere with creative thinking. Musicians including John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and many others have created "break-up" songs.
How does fear affect our lives and creative work? Should we even try to "get over" the experience of fear? Actor Natalie Portman once commented: “Fear is intrinsic to everything you do as a creative person." Robert Maurer, PhD, a UCLA clinical psychologist, would probably agree. He has interviewed many successful actors, writers and other creative people, and researched social and neuropsychological aspects of achievement and creative expression for many years.
Stephen King has published some 54 novels and six non-fiction books, and has written nearly 200 short stories. Even if you are not that prolific, you may still experience the intense imagination and racing mind that so many creative people live with. An article by journalist David Ulin about King notes "In 1988, he astonished even himself by publishing five books... It's a daunting degree of prolificacy, but through it all, King has always seemed less like a workaholic than someone for whom writing is simply fun.
"Writing is a path of profound self-awareness." Mark Matousek How can writing help us learn more about who we are, and release more creativity? One answer is writing can be a powerful tool for accessing our shadow self. “Creativity always requires taking a chance on one’s self meeting one’s unconscious, or shadow..."
As a creative person, you may be especially sensitive and vulnerable to sensations and feelings. As a creative professional, your work may be one of the most deeply satisfying parts of your life, but can also be so physically and emotionally challenging that you suffer from anxiety and stress. Creativity coach, author and psychologist Eric Maisel writes about how the creative life can be an ongoing source of stress – if we interpret or frame it as such.
How can meditation help us be more creative? Can biofeedback technology help us meditate more effectively? In their book on creativity research, Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire make a number of references to meditation and creativity. For example, they note: "Steve Jobs has even said that meditation — which he studied with Zen master Shunryū Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind — was the main source of his creativity."