How Stress Can Kill Your Creativity and What You Should Do to Revive It
We can turn the tables on our stress and transform it into art!
Writing is a creative outlet for me. I publish an article once a day and it takes me about 3 hours to write, edit, and polish my work. If I want to sustain my creativity, I need an ambient atmosphere. I prefer to write in the quiet of the night or early morning, with lo-fi hip-hop music playing in the background. I require a quiet setting to be creative. If there is any type of distraction in this environment, I cannot focus and it stresses me out.
Creativity is a known stress-reducer. On the flip-side, too much stress can affect your ability to create. In a 2002 study, scientists read the diary entries of nine-thousand people working on projects requiring creativity. The researchers in this study found that stress related to time-management resulted in the subjects being less creative. Additionally, there have been studies done on people who watched stressful video segments, such as war movie clips. After watching these video clips, the participants exhibited less creativity.¹
Stress can affect the parts of our brain that foster learning and creativity. When our brain releases stress hormones, our focus and memory functions are reduced. If our minds are straying towards the stressors in our lives, it can be difficult to produce the high caliber of art we know we are capable of executing.
When we choose writing as a career, we choose to constantly be working on our craft. Whether it is marketing ourselves, coming up with story ideas, or the actual art of writing itself.
In this piece, I will present the common stressors writers have to deal with. Also, I will be sharing what I’m doing to prevent and alleviate creative burnout.
Make sure you are presenting your best work
When we write, we have to worry about our title choice, our sentence structure, our tone, and many other factors. Just one mistake in a sentence or a poorly chosen title can completely derail a perfectly good article. I’m never completely sure of myself when I hit the publish button. I edit, re-edit, then edit some more. This can be tedious, but presenting work that isn’t my best is more stressful in the long run.