Counseling for Creative People to Achieve Creative Balance
Hello, Creatives! This article is about the delicate balance between the input and output of your creative energies. The concept directly applies to the three-parts foundational principles of Creativity Counseling: knowing your creative personality, the relationship of creativity to wellness, and your daily creative practice.
Counseling for Creatives and the Drive to Create
An important part of your creative personality is the drive to create. As related to your wellness, this both requires and generates energy. This is why I emphasize so much a daily creative practice- to maintain a regular source of creative energies to sustain the energy it takes from to create (circular, you see.) In other words, we are roughly talking about a personalized equation of creative input and output to sustain your overall wellness as a creative person. This balance is important and unique to you and your health in a long term way.
Understanding your Stressors using Counseling for Creative People
Also important to note is your equation does not exist in a vacuum- the forces of life regularly change the variables and their weights. Once you establish the basic parameters of your equation it will require regular checking in and adjustment with the stressors of life. I want to reference here as a system for setting this up for yourself by mindfully listening to instincts. Keeping in mind the concept of finding your creative balance, consider the tool of tapping into you innate instincts.
Instincts are Important in Counseling for Creative People
There is a part of you where instinct and body knowledge live, untampered with by your mighty prefrontal cortex. It is a set of natural drives and signals that most living things live by, and in many ways we have evolved away from. For better and worse, we bring in the “intellectual committee” when making decisions, sometimes overriding our organismic needs. There are certainly times for that. There are also certainly times when it is less useful. Ideally, I want you to be able to identify both your natural instincts and your “committee” decisions, and make a choice as to which you need to follow. Since I think human beings are evolved and accomplished at doing the latter (“the committee”) I want to spend time exploring the former (“the lizard brain”). So- let’s take some time and space to check in with yourself: how are you at listening to your instincts?
Creative People use their Instincts Already
You may connect with this notion of instincts to one of its many names in today’s society- body knowledge, Mommy instincts, protective instincts, gut feelings, initial reactions, first impressions, etc. It is a visceral screaming of “yes” or “no” inside you. If you have to “decide” about something, then that is probably not your instinct about it.
Instincts and Mindfulness in Counseling for Creative People
I was listening to a book where the author quoted a zen master on this very topic- she said this zen master described the concept of zen to her as “when I am hungry, I eat, when I am tired I sleep.” What a basic and beautiful example of meeting simple organismic needs. Yet- how often do we neglect to do this? We eat when we aren’t hungry, we don’t sleep when we are tired- yes, I know there are many reasons why- but we can’t deny that the overall effect is neglecting our basic needs.
You Learn to Listen to and Meet your Needs in Counseling for Creative People
When we neglect our animal self, or “basic needs” in hierarchy of needs psychology, there is a fall-out. One of these is that we lose sight of and connection with that part of ourselves. If we aren’t giving our body what it wants, eventually we stop listening to what it is asking us for, until we finally block it out altogether and aren’t even sure what our instincts are. Another cost of this behavior is- we are in a constant state of alarm or stress. If, again, you think about an animal without regular reliable food, water, shelter, safety, routine, structure, exercise etc, what you get is a stressed out, unhappy, neurotic animal. For human beings it is the same. When we neglect our basic needs we are constantly plagued by an undercurrent of instability.
Creative People and Passions- a Distinction
I want to take a minute and address the difference between needs vs wants. All livings things also have a survival instinct that drives us to excess. It says- “this is good- more!” and this is not the same as meeting basic needs. As creative people, we tend to be very passionate, and the drive to experience more of things that we love is normal. Therefore, it is important for you to keep in mind as you tease apart what your natural self is asking you for- what is healthy for you and if limitations need to be set.
Counseling for Creative People Says, Trust Yourself!
I said earlier that one of the modern-day society names for these instincts is “body knowledge” and in fact this is a concept researched in psychology. Essentially what it means is- your body stores experiences and and therefore reacts to things very personally based upon your life experiences. This means listening to your instincts can be very valuable. Instincts can tell you when you are suffering, when you are well, and what you may need to stabilize.
Building your Instincts: a Creativity Counseling Skill
To strengthen this natural force within you, you need to tap into it and listen to it often. If you haven’t done this much, or even at all, I want you to start by “petting the cat.” Consider your most basic organismic needs (do a simple inventory) and make sure that they are met. Drink enough water. Eat enough good foods. Be physically active. Be social. Get enough sleep. Adhere to a routine. Eliminate toxicity and poisons. Do this diligently for at least two weeks and record your anxiety and stress level as you go. I promise you will feel more grounded, safe and calm. By “petting the cat” you are getting back in touch with your instinctual natural self by giving it what it needs.
Creativity Counseling Says: Reinforce!
A second step: once you are meeting your basic needs, begin to notice when your “lizard brain” is asking you for something. You will begin to notice fatigue when you deviate from a routine, miss a meal, etc. Begin to make the connection with these natural and basic patterns of cause and effect in your body. Strengthen the connections by noticing them and meeting the needs they are asking you for. As you continue in this work, you might add a meditative practice to quiet your thoughts (eg consciously telling the committee when you aren't available) and access your instincts. Begin to notice the answers to questions like, what “feels right”?
Your Creative Balance Restored
Over time, my goal for you is not to close off your intellectual capacity to solve problems, but to supplement it with your strong instinctual knowledge. When making decisions about your creative energy input and output, I want you to have access to both an intellectual and visceral information sources. By no means do we want to prioritize one mechanism over the other- both have valuable information to offer, and one can counterbalance the other when it misleads us. Both of these working in tandem will help you balance your individual equation for creative input and output in the most optimal way.
Start Counseling for Creative People and Creativity Coaching for Creative Balance
Did you know this skill enhances not only your overall sense of wellbeing, but also your artistic practice? Choose one of these steps to start Creativity Coaching or Counseling for Creative People, right now:
1) Join my Artists in Residency Program. This is a Free, Online Community of Artists where you can build support, accountability and a network of Creative People as a stepping stone towards reconnecting and committing to your authentic, creative self.
2) Book a Free Consultation. All new clients to Creatively, LLC are entitled to a 15 min, free consultation to sit with me and discuss your needs, services available, and we can problem solve and hand-pick best next steps to help you succeed.
3) Book a Coaching Package. Are you a working Creative in need of specific support? I offer a range of Coaching Packages- let's get started with one that is right for you.
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.