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Many artists and creative professionals find themselves feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and even paralyzed when they cannot meet their work’s mental and physical demands. Stress is a natural part of life, but it can also be detrimental to your health and creativity if not appropriately managed. In this blog post, I will discuss how stress impacts our mental state and our creativity levels and share some tips on managing stress so you can continue being productive despite it.
Stress is all around us every day. Getting caught in traffic, rush hour, dealing with difficult customers at work, screaming children, barking dogs, and demanding bosses; are examples of chronic stress. The stress we experience as creative artists would be considered a combination of chronic and acute stress because we are constantly dealing with deadlines, mental blocks, and other stressors that threaten our creativity levels. But on top of those self-imposed stressors, a creative professional may also have to deal with high levels of uncertainty in a competitive field.
Stress can cause mental disorders because it impacts the neurotransmitters responsible for relaying messages between the brain and other body parts. For example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates moods, and cortisol is known as the stress hormone. When we experience prolonged periods of high levels of these hormones in our system, they can disrupt mental health.
Physical health is also negatively impacted by stress. According to the Harvard Medical School, Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity are all associated with unusually high stress levels in the body leading to adverse health consequences.
The right amount of stress can improve performance and health and is especially beneficial for improving brain function. Too much or too little will have negative consequences on both your mood and physical well-being, so you need to find your “sweet spot.” So, what do you need to manage stress as a creative professional?
"Finding ways to cope with stress and avoid overwhelm is an individual journey and, luckily, there’s no shortage of research-backed strategies available. Try them out and see which ones help you lower stress while also remaining activated and creatively productive."
I'm a musical theatre composer, and I'm also a certified coach. My musical theatre works have been produced and performed around the world. As a coach, I help creative artists achieve greater career success.
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