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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dealing With Overwhelm as a Creative Person

I'm a highly sensitive person, HSP for short. It's estimated that 15-20% of the world population are HSPs. I would guess most are creative and introverted. It's a curse and a blessing. I remember being told by well meaning people to not be so sensitive. Ugh! The plus side is we're intuitive and compassionate. The down side is that sometimes life can be very overwhelming. But you don't have to be highly sensitive to experience overwhelm especially if you're an artist. I have a friend who refers to this as Artist's ADD. Yup.

I've been learning to deal with overwhelm through journaling, spending time in my garden, breathing exercises to focus before I start working, working in half hour increments with a timer and planning time to work on projects on my calendar rather than just entering the due date. These things are starting to help. I'm not doing them perfectly but what I am doing is reaping benefits. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. (I'm writing this to remind myself.)

When I start thinking about my art when I'm relaxed and not creating, I start having a million ideas, but then I don't know which one to start on first. Hello procrastination. The positive outcome of the practices I'm trying to do to manage myself is that they're starting to silence the annoying voices inside my head that say "you're not working hard enough" which I'm all for.

Another very important part of my dealing with overwhelm as a creative person is to be nice to oneself. I'm learning to ignore those annoying voices in my head and speak to myself in an encouraging voice as I would to a teenager. I have lots of practice at this with two in my house... And there's a better chance I'll listen.

1 comment:

Ces Adorio said...

I understand this post very much. Sometimes I deny that I am sensitive but I am. Maybe I am just intense. Nothing is insignificant to me until I decide it to be so. I make such a big deal about everything, like eating for example, I look at the flatware, plates, the dishes, I think about how abundant life is and how I have the liberty to to even think. Some people are not so free. I always go back to this to remind myself to move on: “A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations