Archives for Sensitivity
“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.
Being creative is not some kind of personality trait; you need to have more than just creative ideas or innovative possibilities, you need to actually do something in the world: record that song, write a book or article, put together a smart phone app. As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”
Are creative people more likely to be highly sensitive? Writer Carolyn Gregoire in an article on the topic thinks one reason highly sensitive people may be so creative is an unusual depth of feeling - part of the personality trait of high sensitivity that psychologists and many creative people find supports creative exploration and expression.
“When we’re sensitive to other people’s emotions and struggles, holidays bring extra challenges." Carol Burbank, Ph.D. continues: "Winter celebrations bring their own craziness, the joy/grief cycle of memory, reunions and rituals that touch everyone to the core. “Just riding our own rollercoaster is enough! But when we are empathic, we sense everyone else’s wild ride, too!"
Photorealist painting is one form of creative expression that demands a high degree of technical prowess and attention to detail - which may be enhanced by the personality trait of high sensitivity. A profile on the artist notes that Ralph Goings "is a pioneer in the Photo Realist Movement.
"Energy is the key to creativity. Energy is the key to life." William Shatner We need more than ideas to be creative, we need passion and energy. Being productive in most creative ventures takes ongoing motivation and resolve. Some situations and people fuel our emotional energy, and some suck it away. How can we deal with that kind of energy drain?
In an article, Suzanne Falter-Barns quotes Deepak Chopra: "Creativity is ultimately sexual - I'm sorry -- but it is!" Falter-Barns comments, "I couldn't agree more. I'd always had this sense that self-expression, passion and the stirrings of your soul were intertwined." The field of "energy medicine" claims to understand and help people understand and make use of subtle energy, including chakras or energy centers.
Psychologist Elaine Aron, PhD is perhaps the leading expert on high sensitivity, or more technically, sensory processing sensitivity. She explains that the trait includes a higher level of empathy: “Highly sensitive individuals are those born with a tendency to notice more in their environment and deeply reflect on everything before acting, as compared to those who notice less and act quickly and impulsively. As a result, sensitive people, both children and adults, tend to be empathic, smart, intuitive, creative, careful, and conscientious…”
Stephen King has commented about his creative mind: “It’s as though something in there is running all the time.” He also said that even when he tries to take time off from writing, “My night life, my dream life, gets extremely populated and crazed." As a creative person, you may relate, especially if you are introverted.
"We too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.” Brené Brown adds, “In our culture, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty."