COVID Day # 10–How to Begin Again? Using Creativity to Beat Negative Emotions

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Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress… And it can also help you process trauma. Studies have found that writing helps people manage their negative emotions in a productive way, and painting or drawing helps people express trauma or experiences that they find too difficult to put in to words.” (Ashley Stahl, July 2018, Forbes Here’s How Creativity Actually Improves Your Health, Feb 2018)

This is one of the most stressful environments we will live in in our lives. Many people have taken to blog writing as an awesome stress reliever. I have not written a chapter, reviewed a manuscript, finalized a blog, drafted a blog, or even scratched out a Twitter feed idea on the back of a napkin for over a month. Many of us avoid the very things that will help us feel better when we don’t feel good. I think it is easier to sink than it is to learn to swim?

I know I love my writer’s mind, and miss her. I like spending time with her; I am happier, more open to laugh, more available to serendipity, and much more loving when I hang around with my writer’s brain. She is an alter ego to my nose-to-grindstone-worker-bee-9-to-5-brain. She enriches my life and adds so much energy, lightness, humor. I will say it one more time- She helps me laugh and keeps me sane!

What does your writer’s brain give to you? How does that alter ego add to your life? Why do they get pushed aside precisely when we need them most? Why have I ignored my assigned time slots with her? It might be fun to name these alter egos, to give them a little more status than the dog-eared spiral notebook I currently assign mine. I wonder if we would treat those alter egos as well as we treat our appointments with friends. I think I would give my writer friend more status and keep my writing appointments better if I knew her name. What is it? Cassandra? Angelica? Athena, the Greek Goddess of Creativity? Saraswati, the Thai Goddess of creativity. What about Tom (my high school English teacher, or Mary Anne from Gilligan’s Island? She is everyone’s friend, right? The tune is very catchy…

Writing Challenge for November: Write your writer alter ego a Thanksgiving letter. Tell them how much you appreciate what they bring to your life. Assign a name to your writing pal and set an appointment with them for your writing relationship together.

Give them a name if you can, and describe your friend in as much physical detail as possible. She is with you.

It is worth it! “Spikes in stress hormones such as cortisol counteract the creativity-boosting effects of serotonin. Plus, stressed-out people tend to be closed off to new ideas, says Shiv. Studies of baboons have shown that when experiencing stress, they refuse to seek out new territory (or mates, for that matter),(Ryan Underwood, Feb 2014 Using Neuroscience to Boost Your Creativity).

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