Creativity is commonly thought of as a personality trait that resides within an individual. We count on creative people to produce the songs, movies, and books we love to read; to invent the new gadgets that can change our lives; and to discover the new scientific theories and philosophies that can change the way we view the world. Over the past several years, however, social psychologists have discovered that creativity is not only a characteristic of the individual, but may also change depending on the situation and context.
This article is written especially for all you writers, artists, business owners and anyone else looking for some new ways to get their creativity flowing. Feeling burnt out or lacking creative ideas? Feeling bogged down by all of the mundane tasks and To-Do lists? Do you procrastinate doing your work or your creative projects? Do you resist completing your work or marketing your work? Do you have trouble deciding which creative project to tackle? Do you find completing work hard? Are you looking for inspiration? Are you accessing your creativity less often than you would like? Are you avoiding your creative work altogether? Anxiety may be one of the main culprits. Anxiety can be everywhere in the creative process. I have found that anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face–and yet few are aware that their behaviors are anxiety related. Anxiety and overwhelm oftentimes stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable. It has the capacity to stop would-be creative people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams.
“When we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower.”
When we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower. To understand how fear blocks creativity, take a moment to imagine yourself telling a story. First, imagine telling the story to someone you love dearly and who loves you dearly. You probably feel a welcoming warmth energy as you fill in the details of your story to your friend’s delight. Now, imagine telling the same story to someone who, for whatever reason, makes you feel uncomfortable. The wonderful twists and turns, the fine points and colorful images that unfolded in your mind for your friend probably won’t present themselves the same way when you feel uncomfortable. Instead of the warmth, welcoming energy, and creativity, you will probably feel opposite sensations and a desire to want to close down. When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops. Alternately, when we feel safe, our creativity unfolds like a beautiful flower, without conscious effort.
Knowing this, we can maximize our creative potential by creating the conditions that inspire our creativity. In order to really be in the flow, we need to feel safe and unrestricted. However, achieving this is not as simple as avoiding people who make us feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we can be alone in a room and still feel totally blocked. When this happens, we know we have come up against elements in our own psyches that are making us feel fearful. Perhaps we are afraid that in expressing ourselves we will discover something we don’t want to know, or perhaps unleash emotions or ideas that we don’t want to be responsible for. Or maybe we’re afraid we’ll fail to produce something worthy. Or what if we are afraid to successfully create something that grows like wildfire.
Inspiration and Intuition are the language of love and light where one can inter-communicate with God. Spending time alone with your thoughts is a good way to let that inner voice within you speak to you in such a way that it can offer you guidance and help inspire creativity. Close yourself up in your creative space or go out in the woods where you can be alone. When you are alone the Universe talks to you in flashes of inspiration.
When you are up against fear, internal or external, try some of these techniques to shift your experience:
Create A Circle of Energy
All types of ritual can be a powerful and a creative antidote. Before you sit down to be creative, try creating a circle of energetic protection and creativity around you. Visualize yourself inside a ring of light. Imagine that this protective energy emanates unconditional love for you and wants to hear, see, and feel everything you have to express. Take a moment to bathe in the warmth of this feeling and then fearlessly surrender yourself to the powerful information that flows through you.
Jot Down Your Ideas Down
Get into the habit of writing your ideas down as soon as you have them. This way you train your brain to keep coming up with ideas, and as soon as you get them you write them down. When they are written down you don’t have to worry about remembering them and this allows more room for new ideas to form in your mind.
Be Spontaneous – Let Your Freak Flag Fly
If you feel like dancing, dance, if you feel like singing, sing. If you feel like drawing and coloring, draw and color. If you feel like shouting, find a place to shout. And if you hesitate, ask yourself why you are hesitating.
Get Moving – Time To Exercise
The effects of exercise and physical movement on the mind and creativity have been studied for centuries. There is no doubt that you feel much better after exercise. This is because after you exercise, endorphins (feel-good hormones) are released into your bloodstream.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Stop criticizing yourself and stop being so harsh on yourself. Accept yourself the way you are and do things to the best of your ability.
You are enough and you are creative. Don’t let self-limiting beliefs block out your creativity! Remove the barriers and the ideas will begin to flow.