Generalized anxiety disorder in its purest form is defined as “an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.” In other words, anxiety is your imagination running wild in a way that causes stress. Have you ever tried to use your imagination for multiple things at once? I have, and usually, rather than ending up with one beautiful product, I don’t end up finishing any of them. Why is this? Trying to work on two projects that require imaginative power (such as painting two different pictures) is difficult. The very act of imagining something takes an intensive amount of focus, which is why grounding strategies are so effective in counteracting anxiety disorder.
Creativity is one way to occupy imaginative focus and counteract stress. By turning your imagination towards something positive, you’re also turning it away from negative thinking and obsessive worry. As author Deepak Chopra says, “The best use of imagination is creativity, the worst use of imagination is anxiety.”
According to PsychCentral, “creativity helps us to express ourselves, our feelings, and our frustrations.” Expressing creativity allows you and I to process what we are feeling in a way that is less overwhelming and more digestible. You could say anxiety is like trying to eat an elephant whole, but when you slow down your thinking, you eat one bite at a time. Suddenly what felt impossible is being done, one step at a time.
So what are some creative ways to counteract over-active anxiety? As someone who struggles with severe anxiety disorder, there are quite a few ways I’ve learned to help calm it down. I’ve narrowed it down to just my top three favorites to share with you today.
Do you have other creative ways you cope with generalized anxiety disorder? Let us know in the comments below!