There have been many studies that say that creativity flourishes at the edge of chaos. Typically these articles refer to fostering creativity in school children. What if you aren’t a school child? What if you’re a creative trying to find your creativity in a time of chaos?
When you, the creative person, or your loved one has a chronic medical condition, you live on the edge of chaos every day. Every upset in routine can send you over the edge and into the chasm that is overwhelming chaos. Perhaps you’re moving to a new house or you’re mother-in-law just moved in. Whatever the cause, something has introduced chaos into your life. Creativity in a time of chaos can seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. (It should be obvious, but a life-threatening crisis is a whole ’nuther beast and is NOT part of this discussion.)
When Chaos Hits
Surprised by a chaotic situation, some of us go into an “all hands on deck” mode in which the creative handles and tries to do EVERYTHING. Some of us go into an anxiety-ridden brain-freeze and can’t do anything. So what should a creative do?
When chaos replaces your routine, there are things you can do to allow time and space for creativity.
Turn the Negative Positive
First, are you thinking of this crisis, this chaotic situation, in a negative way? What if your negativity IS the problem? What if the chaos is an opportunity for something greater to happen? Re-shape your thoughts. Instead of, oh, no, now I’ll never get it done, rephrase it as a positive. It doesn’t have to be a Pollyanna statement, but something like, it’ll be a challenge but I can figure this out.
Recognize that the chaos is external and keep it there. Don’t let it define you or stop you. If you believe you can’t escape it, re-frame that thought. What would happen if you did escape it for five minutes? For longer?
Be your own best friend
A part of you may like the adrenaline rush that chaos brings. Forgive yourself for that and/or for not being able to do and be all things. Give yourself permission to delegate or to re-negotiate deadlines.
Set smaller achievable goals
You’ll feel much better you feel when you spend even a mere ten minutes of creativity.
Find the silence
The silence being whatever you need to have for your creative space. Perhaps you need to get up earlier or stay up later. Or, a new ritual to put yourself into the creative frame of mind. Light a candle, listen to music or enjoy a fragrance that puts you in that place.
Stress reduces the endorphins that help you feel happier. Exercise will increase those.
Recognize your courage
It can take great courage, discipline, and self-awareness to see through the chaos in your life. Congratulate yourself for what you do accomplish, even the non-creative things. Reward yourself for your courage and discipline. You deserve it.
Creativity in a time of chaos IS possible. Remember, creativity flourishes on the edge of chaos. So even when you’re deep in chaos, you only have to get up to the edge. And there, great things can happen.