The Effects of Stress on Creative Writing Activity

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Some people believe that they do their best work under pressure, but studies have repeatedly found that this isn’t the case. The more pressure we feel and the faster we try to work, the more likely we are to make mistakes. This is especially the case for creative endeavors, where the creative process is closely tied to being in a state of relaxation, where the imagination can flow freely and ideas can germinate into fully developed pieces of art. As a result, if you are working on a creative writing project, removing as much stress as possible from your life is the key to seeing your project through to a successful completion.

It is perhaps ironic that creative writing is actually promoted as an activity to help people combat stress. Studies have found that writing about one’s emotions can help to relieve stress and promote better mental health. That’s why creative writing has been used as a form of therapy. However, while many studies have looked at the effect of creative writing on stress, fewer have examined the role that stress plays in the writing process.

Let’s begin by establishing that a certain degree of stress is a good thing. If you had no stress in your life at all, you would likely find yourself unmotivated and unable to get things done. This is called “eustress,” meaning “good stress.” A little bit of stress keeps us moving forward and provides the spark we need to tackle a new project. The problems start when the amount of stress overwhelms us and has a negative impact on our lives and work. A 2002 study that analyzed 9,000 creative projects determined that the higher stress a person experienced, the less creative the resulting project became. A 2009 study on rats found that stressed rats were unable to think of creative solutions to simple problems.

Our brain has three layers, the primitive lizard brain, the emotional mammalian brain, and the rational and creative neo-mammalian brain. Stress shuts down the layers of the brain from the most complex to the least, meaning that the greater mount of stress in our lives, the most we rely on our lizard brain instead of our reason and creativity. Studies have found that there is a direct correlation between an increase in stress and a decrease in creativity.

But what is most interesting is that altering your state of consciousness can actually free your creativity. Turning off parts of the neo-mammalian brain and relying more on the emotional mammalian brain can open up new levels of creativity. Unfortunately, it comes at the loss of reason and technical skill. For that reason, it can become difficult or even impossible to write well when in a compromised state. Even viewing a brief but stressful YouTube video can negatively impact your creativity for several minutes, according to one study.

Creative Writing Activity

So, the bottom line is that a little stress is good but too much stress will ruin your creative writing.

Therefore, it’s important to find some techniques (offered by Jeremy Wilson, expert paper writer from WriteMyPaperHub company) that will help you to beat stress and make your writing flow with all the creativity you can muster:

  • Do Something Creative: Yes, creative writing is creative, but if you are feeling stressed, try a different creative activity to loosen up your creativity. Drawing, painting, knitting, or any other creative form of expression can jump start your creativity so that you’re ready to write.
  • Make Stress-Busting Part of Your Day: Set aside time to bust stress during your daily routine. Taking time to do things that make you happy will reduce your stress and increase your creativity. The happier you feel, the more likely you will be to have your creativity explode in happiness as well. Socialize with friends, visit with family, take a walk—anything to get you rested and feeling good.
  • Take Care of Your Health. Diet and exercise are important to beating stress: Eating healthy food and getting your body moving help you to feel better and also release important stress-busting hormones that will help you to unlock your creativity.

Stress can be harmful, but the good news is that there are ways to manage stress to help you become more creative and a more relaxed writer. When you manage your stress appropriately, you’ll soon find that you can maximize the benefits of eustress without succumbing to the dangers of too much stress.

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