I came across some interesting articles recently about the effect of stress on creativity.
This one, from the American Psychological association, pertains more to grad students, but many of us who work full time and try to fit in writing, family, and whatever else we do have a similar stress load. Even if you don’t, there could be other equally stressing factors.
One from Forbes talking about the effect on creativity and competitiveness at work.
There are quite a few more as it appears this is an area of study, many of which are scientific enough that I have to get out my Six Sigma stuff to understand the statistical analysis.
But this brings me to my point: the scientific community knows that stress kills creativity. While the brain is expending resources on the lower order functions in a fight or flight response to keep us alive, it’s not giving much of anything to higher order functions like creativity.
Makes sense. Your brain doesn’t really differentiate from the stress caused by a lion attack and the stress caused by an impractical deadline at work. So your brain is going to “save” you from the “lion”.
I have been on this fight or flight roller-coaster since early May.
At that time, we learned DD2 was developmentally delayed, and we’ve had to spend a lot of time and money to figure out why and then start her treatment. As part of her treatment, I learned quickly that the medical profession in my area expects you to either be a stay-at-home mom or miss lots of work as there’s no such thing as early morning, night, or weekend appointments. Not even Friday appointments in the summer, as it turns out.
We then got to experience first-hand the joys of insurance denying everything, even things they had told us previously they would cover. Lots of stress fighting them and mostly losing.
About 3 days after my daughter was diagnosed, I was asked to start a massive cost-benefit analysis of shutting down a plant that has been around since 1946. Had to be done completely in secret. So lots of sneaking around and asking weird questions with made-up reasons. The analysis confirmed what the executives expected, the announcement was made, and now I face the constant daily stress of working through the plant closure and reporting out on it.
So, yeah, no wonder my creativity dried up in May and hasn’t really returned.
I need to find a better way to deal with the stress than I have been, but I’ve yet to figure it out.