5 Ways to Turn Anxiety into Art

If you’re like me and millions of others, you can let life get the best of you. I deal with occasional bouts of anxiety. I have since I was in my mid 20s. Perhaps it stems from my childhood. Perhaps it’s genetic. Whatever the reason, I’ve learned to turn anxiety into art.

The famous Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, suggested that anxiety can help fuel creativity. I’ve certainly found this to be true. I don’t necessarily enjoy anxiety, but I must wonder, if my life were anxiety-free, would I still be as creative? I don’t think so. I think a little anxiety can give us a creative edge.

Let Anxiety Work for You Instead of Against You

Turning you worry into a work of art, like anything else, is a process. I’ve found the 5 following steps helpful:

  1. Get yourself into motion: Negative thoughts can be crippling. I’ve found that the surest way to purge negativity is to exercise. Take a walk or a run. Get your body moving. This will help relieve the stress that can lead to worry.
  2. Breathe deeply: Breathing is the key to life. Often, we forget to truly breathe. In our daily rush, we start breathing shallowly. After you get some exercise, spend a few moments focusing on practicing deep breathing.
  3. Start creating, no matter how you feel: Once you’ve calmed your nerves a bit, don’t just start worrying again, start creating. Take that nervous energy that stems from anxiety and put it to work. You can write, paint, or play music that expresses how you feel. Don’t let your feelings control your life. Let your art express your feelings.
  4. Allow for play time: Play is an overlooked strength. As adults, we tend to forget about play. But play can get our minds off of our problems. Play is also a very creative force at work. Take a little time to have a little fun.
  5. Give yourself some space: I’ve found that space allows for the imagination to get working. Physical, mental, and spiritual space can help you feel the freedom to create. We live in a cluttered and busy world. Create a clean working space. Take a day away from the office. The space you allow yourself could lead to your next great work of art.

Don’t Let Anxiety Steal Your Creativity

Here’s a short Ted Talk by artist, Sharon Dowell, about dealing with anxiety and using it as fuel for artistic creativity. Enjoy!

Creativity is a form of meditation. Meditation can relieve our fears. If you struggle with anxiety, you can use that energy to get more creative.