This month, the topic for CreativeMornings meetups across the country was anxiety. You know the feeling—trying to get your brain to shut up long enough to fall asleep, waking up at 3 am with spiraling thoughts of all that could possibly go wrong in tomorrow’s meeting, avoiding the water cooler like the plague for fear that a human might ask you how you’re doing, etc. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, most folks can identify with a feeling of being overwhelmed, hopeless, or suffocated by pressures from work and life at some point.
Here in the Nashville chapter of Creative Mornings, they asked our very own CEO to speak on the topic. He cussed a few times, he almost cried, and he only offended 5-6 people, so we consider it a win.
As he shared his life and some interesting research that suggests a connection between anxiety/depression and creative careers, we pulled out a few nuggets to help our creative brethren actively combat the negative effects of anxiety.
1. So What?
When you’re stressed about something that might go wrong, ask yourself “So what?”. Your brain will tell you how it can go wrong. Ask your brain again—“so what?” until your brain is out of excuses. For example:
Your brain: You could have tech issues in your Big Client presentation tomorrow.
You: So what? I’ll apologize and thank them for their patience.
Your brain: Big Client could get annoyed.
You: So what? I’m witty and charming, I’ll win them back over.
Your brain: I’m no match for your wit and charm.
This little exercise can help you keep things in perspective when you’re freaking out because you found a typo in the document you just sent to Big Client.
2. Eat The Frog
Picture this: a large armed man has just entered your home. He reaches into the pocket of his black leather trench coat and pulls out a slimy green frog. He offers two options: eat the frog or be killed. You have until midnight.
You can either spend the next several hours agonizing over how awful it will be to eat the frog, or you can just eat the damn thing and enjoy the rest of your day.
So many of us tend to avoid the gross slimy thing we don’t want to do, spending anxious hours with it hanging over our head. But what if, instead, you knocked out the thing you dread most FIRST thing in the morning? You’d spend the rest of your day feeling accomplished, lighter, and a little less like someone is going to kill you.
3. Watch The River
A simple concept stolen from Headspace (the best meditation app, IMHO). Each day, you have a river of concepts, worries, or daydreams running through your mind. When you get a little overwhelmed by your own head, picture yourself standing on the shore, watching the river, rather than drowning in it. Take a second to identify the thoughts in the river, acknowledge them, and then let them float by. Don’t jump in, don’t start fishing, just observe and rest on the shore.
If that doesn’t make any sense, you can just watch this Headspace video that demonstrates the concept using traffic:
4. Know What Brings Rest
Every brain is different but there are some really smart people out there who have spent their lives finding ways to help anxious folks like us. Here are a few great resources we’ve found…
1. Therapy: We won’t make specific recommendations here but go get you a therapist.
5. Faith: This varies for a lot of folks. You and Colton should grab coffee and swap thoughts.
6. Medicine: As prescribed by your doctor. Self-medicating with booze does not count.
Colton loves 2 things:
1. Buying people coffee to talk about their problems.
2. Talking about branding.
If you want to do both or either, shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.