The quality and intensity of fear, which we may experience at times as anxiety, or even panic attacks, can both motivate and disrupt creative expression.
Creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD notes one way anxiety shows up for many people.
He asks in his book Mastering Creative Anxiety, “Are you creating less often than you would like? Are you avoiding your creative work altogether? Do you procrastinate? That’s anxiety.”
And yet, some creative people embrace anxiety, or at least fear – if it isn’t overwhelming.
“I don’t do anything anymore that feels safe. If it doesn’t scare the crap out of you, then you’re not doing the right thing.” – Sandra Bullock
Actor, writer, director Kristen Stewart has talked candidly about her past struggles with anxiety and panic, especially as a teen – like many of us.
“I went through so much stress and periods of strife. I would have panic attacks. I literally always had a stomach ache.
“And I was a control freak and if I couldn’t anticipate what was going to happen in a given situation, I would make myself ill, or just be locked up or inhibited in a way that was really debilitating.
“It’s kind of remarkable. I just grew out of it, but that’s not to say I don’t get worried.”
From article: Kristen Stewart Opens Up About Struggling With Anxiety by Kimberly Truong, REFINERY29 Aug 1, 2016.
Here is a related article by an anxiety coach and author:
The Enemy Of Our Imagination
By Barry McDonagh
People who experience panic attacks will often say that they feel out of control as soon as the panic is in full swing.
Christian Nevell Bovee once wrote:
“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.”
Doesn’t that sum it up well?
A confident self assured person can suddenly feel powerless and vulnerable as soon as the panic manifests.
As the bodily sensations race, the mind jumps from logic and reason to wild fears fueled by the imagination.
The hardest part for most people to get their heads around is why they feel so suddenly powerless during a panic attack.
To shut it down and end it as soon as possible.
Coping techniques like deep breathing and distraction are mildly effective at best.
When these techniques fail to get results, that is when the person really leaps over to ‘the enemy of their imagination’.
It goes something like this:
“I used all my coping techniques but I still feel very anxious, in fact it may be getting worse!
“What if this keeps getting worse and no help can get to me here?”
Where people run with this type of thinking their imagination will continue to escalate the fear, leaving them feeling more and more vulnerable and out of control.
The secret to regain control and come back to yourself, is to learn how to respond to the panic in an appropriate manner.
The solution is to work with the bodily sensations rather than against them.
Let me give you a small example. If you were sitting on a train and started to feel sensations that indicated the beginning of a panic attack, instead of trying to stop the experience do the opposite.
Acknowledge that you are safe, label the sensations and then tell the sensations that scare you, to get worse.
If you are sweating tell your body to sweat more, if your heart is racing, tell it to race faster.
Move into the experience rather than against it.
The real panic only begins as soon as you hand over reason and control to your imagination.
By moving into the experience voluntarily, you become the decision maker and therefore retain control.
If you’re going to have a panic attack it is going to happen on your terms.
You empower yourself because you are directing the whole experience not handing “over to the enemy of our imagination.”
Learn more about this approach and how to apply it to various manifestations of panic and general anxiety at the Panic Away site.
*Note – The above is an affiliate link (and perhaps others on this page), which means the company pays me a commission, if you choose to purchase. There is no extra cost to you. See details in note below the end of this article.
How to Transform Anxiety? Expect and Accept It
This article is copywritten material, made available for publication by affiliates.
Barry Joe McDonagh is an international panic disorder coach.
Also see article, with videos: How to Reduce Anxiety – The Panic Away Program
Learn more about the program, and get free audio program at the site: