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.
In one of the chapters of his book “Making Your Creative Mark,” he explains, “A stressor is anything, positive or negative, that makes a demand on us.
“Stress is our body’s physical and psychological reaction to those demands — on the physical level, it is a buildup of chemicals that keeps increasing as the stress persists. The stress buildup is the reaction, and the demand (or stressor) is the cause.”
But, he continues, “The demand can actually be positive. Imagine your editor calling you up and telling you that she wants a new book from you.
“That’s lovely — unless you can’t see how on earth you can fit writing it into your schedule. It is lovely to be wanted, but her call still creates a demand — and stress.”
Shifting how we respond can lead to experiencing stressors in another way.
Maisel adds, “We can normalize or even reframe many demands as opportunities, and when we do, the associated stress vanishes.
“If you are holding it as lovely to make three calls today to gallery owners instead of as something dreadful that you wish you could avoid at all costs, you have changed the demand characteristic of the situation to one of opportunity.”
Continued in the chapter excerpt The Stress Key by Eric Maisel, from his book Making Your Creative Mark: Nine Keys to Achieving Your Artistic Goals.
The photo above is musician Carrie Underwood who commented, “At the beginning of my career, I used to have panic attacks. People were touching me, screaming – it made me really nervous. It’s a physical reaction, feeling like the walls are closing in.”
Photo from her Facebook page; quotes from article: Performers With Stage Fright and Anxiety.
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An article on the HeartMath site notes some of the stress-related demands on creative pros:
“Writers, advertisers, graphic designers and the like may be facing some changes in the workplace soon as the technologies and strategies they use become more advanced, and creative skills become a bigger asset to organizations across the country.
“As a result, they may also be looking at longer workdays and telecommuting as organizations demand more of their service, according to a survey from The Creative Group and the American Advertising Federation.
“Organizations are increasingly turning to their marketing and creative teams for help generating ideas and solutions that solve business problems, improve customer service and, ultimately, grow the bottom line,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group.
“A total of 62 percent of respondents said they expect longer workweeks over the next few weeks, and a whopping 85 percent estimated that they may even have to complete tasks outside of those regular hours.
“Additionally, 84 percent of those surveyed expect telecommuting to become more common in creative fields within three to five years.
“More responsibilities may mean more stress for these professionals. As a result, organizations may want to consider employee wellness programs that provide workers with tools and resources for stress management.”
Creative professionals may be playing bigger role, working more hours, by HeartMath.
The HeartMath site provides research information and biofeedback based devices to help relieve anxiety and manage stress using heart signals which “have a significant effect on brain function – influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving.”