“Too much stress is a creativity choker,” writes Gail McMeekin in her book, 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women. But some days, doesn’t it seem like stress comes with the package of living? Like it stalks you as you walk from room to room, out the door to run your errands and back into the car again?
Some days, maybe even most days, the overwhelm sets in like a sweat-soaked stranger sitting oppressively close to you on the subway — suddenly, there’s not enough air, and it quickly gets unbearable. And that kind of state doesn’t exactly support your creativity.
While you can’t completely eliminate stress from your days, there are ways you can create a tranquil environment so you can focus on your craft — whatever that might be.
According to McMeekin, creativity thrives in tranquility. She writes, “Your inner peace and connection with your internal whims and spontaneity allow you to recreate the landscape of your mind and invent the new.”
Here are five ways from McMeekin’s book to promote inner peace and make creativity a priority.
1. Pencil in your ultimate creativity-boosting activity.
Think of the “very best creativity enriching experience you can imagine,” and carve out time in your schedule to fit it in. (If you think you don’t have the time, think again.) As McMeekin writes, it might be a getaway for one, an interactive workshop or alone time to play with your projects.
2. Do a stress inventory.
For a week, write down the various things that are draining your creativity. Then, figure out if you can avoid or modify each stressor. If neither is an option, brainstorm how you can cope with these stressors. (Here are some ideas for coping with stress.)
3. Set time aside for silence.
In our daily lives, we deal with a lot of noise, whether it’s from people or technology. Quiet time is key for listening to your own thoughts and musings. McMeekin suggests readers regularly carve out quiet time.
4. Enjoy the season. Every season has its wonders and can help to soothe stress and cultivate creativity. Take the summer as an example. According to McMeekin, “As a child, most of us loved the summer for the freedom we had to have adventures and commune with Mother Nature, the arts, sports, or family.” She asks readers: “What does your heart long to have the pleasure of this season?”
5. Review your life.
Maybe the stress you’re feeling is emanating from within. Maybe it’s a whisper or a scream trying to tell you that you need to change your course. As McMeekin writes, “Are you heading in the direction that you desire or are you lost on a side trail?” Be honest with yourself, and identify the path you’d like to be taking. Then commit yourself to following it.