Archives for Mental Health
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."
“I know what it’s like to feel depressed." Lady Gaga Many creative people experience mental health challenges like anxiety and depression, often starting early in life. A number of them are actors, musicians and other performers. Are there personality traits or aspects of the entertainment business that may encourage emotional problems for performers? Most of you reading this are probably not actors or other performers, but the perspectives and insights of these talented artists can be helpful in understanding and dealing with emotional health challenges.
Creativity is one of the most joyful and meaningful parts of being alive. And for many people, creative expression is not so much a choice as a spiritual necessity. But creative work can be emotionally challenging and stressful, and we need to renew and reboot to keep pursuing excellence.
What fears can interfere with our creative thinking and creatively expressing ourselves? “The artist begins with a vision — a creative operation requiring effort. Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse
How does self esteem impact our lives and creativity? How do traits like egocentrism and narcissism relate to self esteem? In his post here on PsychCentral, Steve Bressert, Ph.D. explains that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is "characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others.
Woody Allen admits he has “a lot of neurotic habits. I don’t like to go into elevators, I don’t go through tunnels, I like the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle.” With so much psychology related material in the news and culture, we may be especially concerned with whether our behavior is a disorder, or normal - whatever that is - and if our eccentricities can help us be more creative somehow. What about all those "crazy" artists in history?
What emotions and thinking may hold us back from being more creative? The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence article "Creativity, Emotions and the Arts" quoted in Part 2 talks about students holding back from being creative out of concerns "that people might think original ideas are silly" - but this kind of retreating from creative work can apply to us at any age. An example might be Joss Whedon - one of my favorite artists, who has credits as actor, writer, producer and director of movies and TV shows including Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. etc etc.
Continuing her remarks for the Emotion Revolution Summit at Yale [see Part 1], Lady Gaga noted some of the approaches she has explored to deal with her anxiety and depression, and to enhance her emotional health: "I take anti-depressant medication for it. I have tried to get off of it my doctor always tells me not to, that it's not safe for me to. "Whenever I've tried to I've gotten very neurotic, manic, sick so I have had to study all different types of ways... I started looking into Ayurvedic medicine. I started looking into meditation.
“I am the kind of person that feels so much that if I didn’t have acting (and music), I would burst from all of the emotion inside!” – Actor Gloria Reuben “I don’t like emotions… For some reason I’m more comfortable in imaginary circumstances.” – Actor William H. Macy Do you remember how much you felt and thought as a child? Probably a lot if you are creative, especially if you are gifted or highly sensitive.