getting over a creative block

Being able to channel one’s anxiety into creativity is an invaluable skill for artists, writers, and other creative types. Image: Lívia Cristina L. C. via Flickr CC.

MindBodyGreen contributor and holistic wellness coach Sarah Woehler recently wrote an informative and important article about how to channel excess anxiety into creativity. In it she writes, “In times of emotional turmoil and duress, we often find ourselves dealing with what feels like an excess of anxious energy – it can be catalyzed by sadness, anger, frustration, the list goes on. This anxiety can weigh us down, or make us jittery and imbalanced. Regardless of its effect, anxiety often acts as a barricade to our true desires, holding us back from acting on our potential energy and getting where we want to go.”

For artists, writers, and other creative types, being able to channel one’s anxiety into creativity is an invaluable skill. We’ve previously written about the healing power of art therapy, and it’s worth considering that channeling stress into something positive isn’t so different from using art to heal. Here are some ways to do so, courtesy of Ms. Woehler and from Expressive Art Workshops:

Allow yourself to play. As Woehler points out, “Forcing creativity to flow typically does just the opposite,” something that many of us can relate to. Instead of forcing it, she suggests “removing that pressure by incorporating some playtime in your life.” Starting a jigsaw puzzle, playing a video game, taking a beginner’s dance class, or even letting your thoughts wander into daydreams will help ease your worries and allow you to refocus your mental energy on things that matter to you.

Create a collage of your anxieties. If using your hands to create art is something you like to do, then creating a collage to combat your stress might be a perfect solution. Using old magazines and newspapers, clip words or images of things that express the anxiety you are feeling, and use those clippings to make a collage. This exercise provides control to those who are feeling bogged down by their anxieties, and seeing your concerns displayed in such a visual way will help you process them while also getting your creative juices flowing.

Take a long walk. Woehler says that taking a substantial walk can be one of the best things to do for yourself if you’re feeling stressed and like you’ve fallen into a creative slump. She even points out that some of the most renowned artists and writers attribute their ability to bounce back from a creative block to walking. “The act of movement stimulates the mind and the body while also simultaneously quieting the noise,” she says, of how the simple act of walking can help reduce your stress and help you refocus your creative energy.

Have you tried any of these methods to channel your stress into creativity? What works best for you?