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 do acupuncture. I do cupping. I pray sometimes. I make music. I write poetry. I am an actress now; that’s helped me a lot.”
Choosing what to do and not do
But she says what helped her the most “is that I realized that part of my identity is saying NO to things I don’t wanna do.”
She urged the Yale students “to choose what you do and don’t do. It is your right to choose what you believe in and what you don’t believe in; it is your right to curate your life and your own perspective…”
The photo above is from the page Emotions in Everyday Life, at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. It says, in part:
“Our work explores the role of emotional intelligence in the creative process. For example, how can a person regulate anxiety about a new project and choose to be creative?
“Alternatively, how can a person access unpleasant emotions for defining a problem or to enrich artistic expression? We also explore the role of emotions above and beyond other predictors of creativity, such as the personality trait of openness to experience, to better understand how creative potential becomes creative behavior.”
This topic of openness to experience is addressed by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman in a number of his writings.
One of his comments is about high sensitivity versus introversion, related to anxiety:
“A number of studies support that idea that sensory processing sensitivity is much more strongly linked to anxiety (neuroticism) and openness to experience than introversion.”
From my article Introverted, Shy or Highly Sensitive in the Arts [source of this image].
Related article: Sensitive to Anxiety and Depression – Being highly sensitive probably increases our vulnerability to anxiety and depression, which for many of us go together to some extent.
Dealing with emotions like frustration when creating
A publication by researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence further emphasizes the topic of this post. Here is an excerpt:
“Our emotions and our ability to manage them, in other words our emotional intelligence, help us, for example, to deal with the frustrations and difficulties that crop up during the creative process, to identify problems, to generate ideas, and so on.
“Our studies with secondary school and university students show that there are three kinds of attitudes towards life and work that are relevant for creativity.”
One idea they bring up is potential negative emotional consequences of being creative:
“Students are concerned that people might think original ideas are silly, that sharing creative ideas exposes them to ridicule, and they worry about being perceived as disrespectful or angering others if they suggest original ideas.”
Another point: “Students believe that they should be creative only when they might feel psychologically safer, such as when they are more senior or have fully mastered a domain of work.”
The authors conclude, “If we aim to increase creativity, it will be necessary to shift people’s attitudes toward creativity from apprehension to curiosity.”
From Creativity, Emotions and the Arts by Zorana Ivcevic, Jessica Hoffmann, Marc Brackett in the Botín Foundation Report 2014. [PDF]
Author Susan Cain comments about how group work may suppress original ideas and innovation:
“Solitude is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place.
“Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.”
But, she adds, “there’s a problem with this view.Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.
“And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies.”
[Cain is author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.]
In his PsyBlog post Why Group Norms Kill Creativity, Jeremy Dean (a researcher at University College London) notes that “Groups only rarely foment great ideas because people in them are powerfully shaped by group norms: the unwritten rules which describe how individuals in a group ‘are’ and how they ‘ought’ to behave.”
From my post Conformity and Creativity.
Interacting with others
Psychiatrist and energy medicine specialist Judith Orloff, M.D. also addresses this idea of our feelings when interacting with other people and how this can impact creative thinking.
She advises looking for signs of positive intuitions about other people you may connect with in creative or other kinds of relationships – signs such as: “a feeling of comforting familiarity or brightness; you breathe easier, chest and shoulders are relaxed, gut is calm; you find yourself leaning forward, not defensively crossing your arms or edging away to keep a distance; your heart opens; you feel safe, peaceful, energized, expansive, or alive.”
From my post Creative collaboration.
She also writes in one of her books: “Since emotions such as fear, anger, and frustration are energies, you can potentially ‘catch’ them from people without realizing it.
“If you tend to be an emotional sponge, it’s vital to know how to avoid taking on an individual’s negative emotions or the free-floating kind in crowds.”
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Anxiety at your job
Robert Maurer, PhD, a clinical psychologist, business consultant and a faculty member at UCLA, addresses how anxiety can show up and be managed in work situations, and how creative collaboration can be fostered:
He notes “Google studied its managers a few years ago and found that the best were those who did three things: they met often with employees, showed interest in people’s personal lives, and asked many questions, rather than just giving commands or instructions.
“Not only do those behaviors help create the sorts of collaborative networks that reduce fear, they build up the skills it takes to respond to it.”
From his article There’s No Such Thing As Stress—Here’s What’s Really Bothering You, Fast Company.
[This photo of the Google office in Zurich is one I have used in multiple articles, including Giftedness in the work environment, by Noks Nauta, Sieuwke Ronner.]