Becca Kuest, Content Writer…

Don’t stress. One of the most unhelpful phrases to say to someone who is stressed. Why? Stress is a natural emotion that we feel when something overwhelming happens to us. Telling people not to stress is like telling someone not to be sad. You don’t often hear people say that they love to be stressed or sad. There are times when we choose to feel a certain emotion. Other times an emotion hits us unexpectedly, so telling someone not to feel that emotion is counter-productive.

Emotions are a natural part of life. What we feel is real and powerful. Whether we realize it or not, our emotions affect everything around us – our creativity, perspective, thoughts, words, actions, relationships, circumstances. Unfortunately, our emotions can hinder us when we are trying to accomplish something.

Creatives tend to put a heavy amount of pressure on themselves to…well…create. This pressure increases when we feel stressed.

Intense stress feels like…the weight of the world on your shoulders, a twisted muscle in your back, a constant pressure pushing against your skull, a throbbing pain in your side, unending tears streaming down your face…

But stress doesn’t always feel like that. Sometimes it motivates us and gives us the adrenaline we need to keep moving forward. Stress can give us the creative spark we’ve been searching for.

So how do we use our emotions to enhance our creativity?

  1. Check all of your emotions. Stress is not a primary emotion. If you’re feeling stressed, you are also feeling one or a combination of primary emotions: anger, sadness, happiness, and/or fear. Having an awareness of our emotions is important so that we know how to take care of ourselves.
  2. Discover all of the causes. Yes, all. Just because you are only aware of the one thing that is causing you stress, recognize that there may be more.
  3. Focus on what’s right in front of you. Once you know all of the causes of your stress, put all of them aside except for one. Try writing down everything that’s on your mind, anything that you need to get done, questions you need to answer, decisions you need to make, errands you need to run…write it all down. Then grab one, and only one thing you need to tackle. If that’s your creative project, focus all of your energy on that.
  4. Learn when to step away. It’s important to learn about your stress levels. A certain level of stress can motivate you to persevere when you feel stuck. Too much stress can defeat you before you even get started. Taking breaks to do something different is very beneficial for your brain and overall health. Knowing when to step away will help you in your creative process.
  5. Tap into new creative areas. Creativity takes practice, and not just practice of your own craft. Take a break from your project and try something new like writing, painting, graphic design, music, or dancing. It’s okay if you’re not good at it. The goal isn’t to be good. The goal is to calm your emotions and broaden your creative palette. You’ll be surprised by how refreshing it is!

It’s okay to stress. Just don’t let the stress consume you and hold you back from creating something amazing. Hopefully this list gives you a good start to harness your stress. This list is not all-encompassing by any means. Perhaps you have some techniques that you use when you’re stressed. Share with us on our social. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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