In the past we’ve written about the link between depression and creativity.
Creative thinkers are more exposed to depression and anxiety possibly more than regular folk because of the tendency to ruminate more, or so the theory goes. Often, as creative individuals, we’ll use frustration or otherwise negative emotions to fuel the drive into finding solutions to problems or into doing creative, expressive work.
Unfortunately, the traits which give us leverage as creative workers can also be a disadvantage. In some circumstances, our focus on a task may lead to overthinking, analysis-paralysis, furthering our anxiety or depression, and so on.
How can you move past these creative obstacles if they’re the same thing that might be fueling your ability to pursue creativity?
According to Tony Robbins, peak performance coach to world leaders, creative experts, and business professionals, feelings of fear or uncertainty are physical by nature.
In fact, whenever you feel fear or uncertainty, your body assumes a specific position. Have you ever noticed that? When we’re fearful or anxious we tend to ball up, rolling our shoulders forward, pulling our knees close together, clenching our teeth or fists. The opposite is true of when we’re happy or open to experiences: we open our shoulders, sit up tall, push our chin up into the air.
Our mental state influences our physical self, and the opposite is theoretically true as well. If you’ve been unsuccessful at getting yourself unstuck from a creative rut, if you’ve felt frustration or depression clouding your ability to move an idea forward, consider a few physical hacks to see how you might alter your mood.
1. Change your posture
Try imitating the posture and facial expression of the state you want to be in. If you’re feeling inhibited, hurt, or afraid, try instead sitting up straight, smiling, opening your eyes wide, and pulling your shoulders back. If you’re having trouble even doing that, close your eyes for a moment and try to recall a situation where you felt extremely creative. What did it feel like in that moment? Ruminate on that space until you’re ready to open your eyes and get back to the work.
2. Cold Exposure
According to some studies, thermal discomfort negatively affect your work performance. Which might explain why Tony Robbins owns a Cryotherapy machine. The machine cools the body to primarily help with muscle recovery, but it also has some surprisingly beneficial effects for the body as whole.
In a 2007 study published by Nikolay Shevchuck, cold showers performed once or twice daily were shown to help treat symptoms of depression. In another study conducted on swimmers, after training in the cold all athletes's mood and energy improved.
How does the cold help? Researchers suggest that cold exposure may help trigger mind-boosting endorphins and help relax the body, and therefore the mind.
Whenever you find yourself unable to get passed a mental wall, consider changing your physical state.