Using Creativity to Develop Coping Skills
Emotionally sensitive people are often artistic. Being artistic usually means having a strong appreciation of the senses, and information taken in through seeing, hearing, touching and tasting. They may also have a love of movement, such as dance.
The emotionally sensitive person may have an active imagination and create works of visual art or spend time writing. They are often passionate about helping others.
These attributes are gifts, and can also be ways to cope with intense feelings that can be overwhelming at times. Consider the following examples:
For some emotionally sensitive people, picturing themselves strong as a rock or a mountain may help decrease painful reactions to hurtful conversations or disappointing actions of others. Picturing the words someone is saying in balloons above their heads, crumbling into black dust as they speak, could be effective in gaining distance from the pain of being criticized. Perhaps picturing hurtful words as “Blah, blah, blah” can help them feel less threatened by criticism. Imagining escaping on a magic carpet could be a coping skill as well.
Using images of comic book characters or other less than serious visuals helps create a lighter mood. Creating humor in other ways could help lessen painful emotions too. Maybe you are creative in imagining humorous images, like a cartoonist or a comedian. These images can create personal distance from the situation and lessen the intensity.
Writing and Painting
If you enjoy writing, you can use that avenue to help you cope more effectively. Obviously ,you can write directly about situations that are painful to release your emotions. In addition, consider putting your experiences into fiction. Writing about your disappointments, fears and sadness by giving these emotions to a character you create can allow for a perspective you might not have otherwise. Figuring out a way for the character to cope may be easier than thinking of your own solutions. In fiction, you can create whatever ending to the story you want. There may be satisfaction in thinking through long-term results for your character, though the short term was painful.
Poetry may be a way of turning pain into art. The exact expression of your feelings and a way of sharing them may be helpful.
Helping others is often a way that the emotionally sensitive make a difference and find meaning. When experiencing difficult times, it may be helpful to realize that going through such an experience means knowing more about how to help others. By coping with this situation you learn what works and how to advise others. Maybe the experience will help you be better at whatever goal you have set for yourself. Picturing yourself using this information in ways to help others may help you cope.
Sometimes the emotionally sensitive create meaning through changing hurt into contributions by making changes they believe in. Volunteering in organizations that share their passion or working to raise awareness of a cause they believe in allows them to take action and make a difference. This action can also create hope for change.
Using the Senses
Being in nature is soothing for most people, but particularly so for many emotionally sensitive people. The smells, the sounds, and the beauty of the beach, the forest or a flower garden can be particularly comforting.
Using the senses for comfort can be done in many other ways. Seeking out what is comforting can be helpful when you are stressed. Looking at photos of loved ones, having a vase of flowers in your room, enjoying the view at a park or being mindful of the sunset are examples of using what you see for comfort.
You might also create scents such as apples cooking, vanilla, baby powder, or any of your favorite smells. Perhaps smelling the cologne of someone you care about could be comforting.
Textured blankets or the soft fur of a pet are examples of comforting touch. Hugging yourself can be soothing. Music, the voices of friends, and the sound of quiet may be helpful to you. The comfort of eating and drinking favorite foods is well-known, though not helpful to everyone.
Being Willing to Comfort Yourself
A key to effective coping is being willing to nourish yourself. Comforting yourself and taking care of yourself emotionally is as important as eating and brushing your teeth. Pain is a natural part of life, not a sign you have done something wrong or that you are flawed. Learning to take care of yourself is part of finding peace.
Note to Readers: My sincere thanks to everyone who has completed our second survey. If you haven’t participated, please consider answering the survey questions about being emotionally sensitive. I’ll be closing the survey soon. Results will be given in a future post.
Hall, K. (2012). Using Creativity to Develop Coping Skills. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 4, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/emotionally-sensitive/2012/07/catwoman-as-a-coping-skill/