Stress is a huge problem for us all. Here’s what I’ve learned and apply to manage stress using my creativity.
1. You don’t have to be a “tortured” artist.
It’s easy to use drugs, alcohol, and other crutches to “enhance” our creativity. We’re too disoriented to be thinking about the future, or the past, and we just focus on what’s directly in front of us. We can express ourselves without these crutches.
2. Take care of your self. Mind AND Body.
Putting my creativity and my work first, I often neglected to eat, exercise, even stand up from my desk. I spent the whole year in non-stop pain – constant doctors which only caused me to feel depressed, sad and useless. I now realize that how I feel physically (and mentally) is more important than the work I create. Taking care of myself includes all natural remedies such as acupuncture, herbs and vitamins as my only form of medicine. I’m learning how to say no to social pressures, in favor of my own well being.
3. Don’t worry about what other people think of you.
This is easier said than done, but I promise it does come with age. No one cares about what you’re doing unless what you’re doing affects and/or benefits them in some way. A lot of people do offer unsolicited advice, it’s human nature to want to help other people… but if that advice is coming from a place of control or judgement, RUN in the opposite direction.
4. Stop Judging.
The judgements, awards and critiques of other people are nothing but words constructed as a way of comparing you to someone else. Art is often made to be critiqued, and I love dissecting a good painting or film. However, as the artist, the joy of creativity SHOULD come from the process of creating.
5. Don’t Compare.
Stress is often caused by comparison to others.Most people are not as happy as they portray themselves to be. The best advice I ever heard was this… Don’t compare your inside to other people’s outside. Be open to new experiences, be kind to yourself and accepting of the journey which is life. Being present means not thinking into the future, or harping on the past. The coolest thing about being present is that CREATIVITY LIVES IN THE MOMENT. Each moment is UNIQUE.
6. Your intentions matter.
It’s important to remember why you started doing something. What was your intention? I remind myself to enjoy the process of my creative fun stuff, it’s for me. If others like it, great, but it’s the enjoyment of my creative intention, in the moment, that I treasure.
7. Accept Creativity as Work…because who wants a real job anyway?
The biggest skill is being able to separate yourself from your work. This is helpful in our own creative work. If someone doesn’t like our painting, that shouldn’t send us into a spiral of distress. Newsflash: this happens at any job. We have to work, in order to live. So why not spend your days practicing your craft? Why not spend your days being creative?