Therapy Skills for Creatives: Anxiety
A key part of Creativity Counseling is helping you roll with your powerful feelings, not struggle against them. Along with these strong feelings is a powerful energy stream, and often for Creative People, this can be experienced as anxiety, anticipation, or otherwise angst. You may regularly find yourself having difficulty relaxing, making choices, settling into your creative work, starting projects and staying focused because of this high vibration energy. Mother Nature has given it to you to support your creativity, and, in fact it will while you are working, but it can also take up so much of your executive functioning so as to cause difficulty.
Step One: Awareness
In a similar vein to mindfulness, the first thing you need as a Creative Person, is to understand that you have a unique creative personality, and what that means for you. Creative People experience emotions on an expanded scale, so it is important to understand that, and reasonable to apply that to yourself in this situation. What is your individual experience of emotions? How do you experience anxiety, anticipation, or high energy emotions like this?
Step Two: Observe
Once you have thought about and tried to understand your experience of anxiety, spend some time trying to recognize when it happens throughout the day. When are some of your common anxiety pitfalls or higher energy periods that become obstacles? Do you regularly wake up in the morning with an overflow of adrenaline? Do you wake throughout the night this way? How about when making choices? Make some observations when it happens, and how it feels, so that as it occurs, you recognize it is happening.
Step Three: What are your Feelings Telling you?
Emotions are chemical signals from the body to the brain. For Creative People, they are powerful signals. We don’t want to ignore them. Once you are aware of them happening, your next step is to understand the message, knowing that only sometimes the message will be useful. Waking up in the middle of the night, with anxiety about everything you need to do tomorrow, is not useful. The anxiety is “trying” to help you prevent catastrophe, but isn’t helping, really. It is just sleep depriving you. Anticipatory anxiety before you sit down to work is showing up to help you have energy to work. Sometimes it overwhelms you and “freezes” you to the point you feel you can’t begin, but if you recognize the purpose is to “fuel” you, you may be able to use the energy to push through and get started. This process of discovery can be complicated, difficult, and is time well spent in Creativity Counseling.
Step Four: When you Don’t Need the Anxious Energy
If you have done steps one through three, and have evaluated when anxious or high-level energy is not serving you, or also not dissipating, this is when you move on to step four. This step assumes you are doing background care for yourself and your creativity for overall wellness and stability. Need help and clarification on background care? I am here for that, too. Step four is the implementation of on-the-spot techniques to soothe yourself, recognizing your feelings, and allowing them to release without fighting them. This sounds a lot like mindfulness, and I am a big believer in those methods. However, what I have come to realize, is there is some tweaking needed for your Creative Brain.
Mindfulness for Creative People
Over the years I have taught and used Mindfulness Techniques, I have found some difficulties both for myself and my creative clients. The techniques seem to work sometimes, but not all the time. They are a good beginning, but depending on the intensity of the situation, can fall short. What has become clear to me is, once again, that this is due to the unique expanded emotional capacity of your Creative Mind. As Creative People, you experience emotions very powerfully, so much so, that techniques, like mindfulness, functional for a typical emotional presentation, may fall short for you. I have found that using the same ideas and incorporating your creativity is the key to success in managing your emotional load.
Powerful Feelings in Creative People
Basic principles of Mindfulness tell us to recognize our feelings to examine our needs, and meet them if necessary. Mindfulness also requires us to stay present with our feelings as they ebb and flow like a wave, and release us from their grip. I believe the success to this for Creative People lies in also incorporating a Creative Intervention that allows you to stay present mindfully, while engaging your creative muscles. I have designed one such intervention that is simple, yet impactful, for you to try.
Creatively Mindful Intervention
When you have completed steps 1-3 above, and notice yourself in step 4, try this intervention, a combination of Mindfulness Techniques, and an engagement of your creativity:
Therapy for Creative People Makes a Difference
By engaging your Creativity and using tried and true methods like Mindfulness, you will begin to experience the relief and ease in your life you have been searching for. Creative People are powerful, and understanding and knowing how your mind works, is crucial to giving it the care that you need. Start Creativity Counseling or Creativity Coaching today:
1) 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.
2) 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.