Robin Williams’ suicide this past week has brought forward some commentators who are linking his creative genius to his mental illness. While we can’t say for certain whether his creativity was due, at least in part, to his mental illness, we can say this — there is a lot less of a link between these two things than most people think.
We should remember Robin Williams and attribute his creativity to where it probably best belongs — to a personality, intelligence and insight into the human condition that few people have.
And we should put to rest the myth that in order to be a creative genius, one must also be mentally ill.
Often, stress, disappointments, and mundane realities of everyday life plague our inner worlds so much that it’s difficult to experience positive emotions such as joy, peace, and spontaneity. Unfortunately, it becomes a vicious cycle.
The negative emotions build up even more, sapping our mental and physical energies to the point where it’s a challenge just to get through our daily routines. Our bodies become just as blunted as our spirits. Happily, though, there are three easy and inspiring activities that can help us beat the blues and increase our general well-being.
A new study shows that walking — as opposed to sitting — significantly improves creative thinking. Scientists aren’t sure exactly why yet (more research is coming), but they hypothesize that the act of walking most likely triggers certain physiological changes that activate the part of the brain that fuels imagination.
The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, involved 176 participants, mostly college students. Researchers conducted several experiments to investigate whether a simple walk could temporarily improve certain types of thinking, including free-flowing thought.
What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Did you know that you are a storyteller?
We all have stories of ourselves formed by life experiences and relationships. We tell ourselves these stories, and we reveal the details of these stories to others through our words and actions. Our stories reflect our values and strengths.
It’s probably not too difficult to fathom how certain music may mirror your own thoughts and feelings. Lyrics or melodies can potentially communicate the message that you want to convey. Songs can capture an emotional state or personal situation in the best way possible.
I love words, and I consider myself to be a pretty expressive individual. Sometimes, these classic quotes resonate: “Music exists to speak the words we can’t express,” and “When words fail music speaks.”
I’ve always been curious about how others work — other writers, researchers, artists. I wonder what inspires them. I wonder about the particulars of their process. I wonder how they overcome self-doubt and fears of failure.
These questions have been at the forefront of my mind even more, now that I’m working on my own book about creativity.
Anxiety, or mental unease, can be seen as the crying out of the internal artist: Let me out! Let me speak!
~ Frances Krsinich
My path toward healing from anxiety has not been easy or straightforward. I tried many different avenues, from traditional therapy and medication to acupuncture and herbs. But it wasn’t until I turned to the written word that I was finally able to conquer the everyday angst of ongoing anxiety.
The healing first started by simply reading about it. I devoured many self-help books on the subject, including Lucinda Bassett’s From Panic to Power, finally understanding that I wasn’t the only person leading a normal life while fighting the undertow of fear. This fact alone helped me become more hopeful and empowered. I realized that if people with thoughts just as scary — if not more so —than mine could climb out of their anxiety, then I could too.
Still, my mind remained uneasy, quite ready to spin another tale of worry into a sleepless night of fear.
The fear of rejection is one of our deepest human fears. Biologically wired with a longing to belong, we fear being seen in a critical way. We’re anxious about the prospect of being cut off, demeaned, or isolated. We fear being alone. We dread change.
The depth and flavor of fear varies for each individual, although there are common elements at play. If we’re willing to look, what is our actual felt experience of rejection? What are we really afraid of?
Most of us use some kind of to-do list, whether it’s tasks scribbled on a sticky note (like me), projects typed into a computer or an app on your phone, or a snapshot of your day written into a planner.
Author Sam Bennett finds to-do lists to be “too dictatorial.” It makes her feel like a high schooler who’s being told to do her homework.
Instead, she prefers creating a could-do list.
These very words, “could do,” remind her that she has a choice about the tasks she works on.
What’s the first question exchanged when we meet someone new? You guessed it: “So… What do you do?”
In our culture, what you do for a living is inextricably tied to society’s perception of your worth. A stable job with a good salary is highly regarded, but we often look less lovingly upon the self-trained artist or entrepreneur who gives blood, sweat, and tears to make their vision possible.
Why is this? Is the number on your paycheck the true meaning of success?