Deepak Chopra is one of our most interesting modern-day thinkers. He advocates a concept that I find very useful in my daily life. He says we choose how we use our brains, our imaginations, and they can be used for either anxiety or creativity. I find this idea so useful because, as a college professor, I have seen anxiety rates in my students skyrocket over the past 25 years. These young people have gone from being anxious at busy points in the semester to being in an almost-constant state of anxiety. And it’s not just young people. Friends of all ages talk about dealing with anxiety on a daily basis.
I realize part of the change is that we, as a society, are more open about having anxiety. It’s more acceptable to have anxiety, even to be on medication for anxiety, than it was 25 years ago. Part of it is also our “breaking news” culture. Most of us are always connected to some type of media, and media sells “breaking news”. That constant barrage of information is anxiety-producing in its sheer volume if not its content! But what are we sacrificing for our constant connection to the world? Creativity. The most beautiful of all gifts.
Creativity springs from our quiet places. It needs space to grow and flourish. I don’t want to make it sound too “woo”, but the simple fact is that most of us don’t create conditions in our lives necessary to cultivate creativity. It is much easier to allow the anxiety as we listen to the outside world, answer emails, deal with children or needy co-workers, run from work to the dry-cleaners to baseball practice to the fast-food drive-through and finally drop into bed only to lay there stewing in anxiety as we worry about getting it all done again tomorrow.
But WE HAVE THE CHOICE to change this pattern. Our brains are amazing tools with amazing capacity. What if you made one small change to replace just a moment of anxiety with time to clear your mind and focus on creativity. What could you create? What if instead of checking your email for the fifth time, you took 5 minutes to close your eyes, clear your brain, and breathe deeply? Doctors have found that people experience amazing health benefits from just a few moments of deep-breathing exercises each day (an easy start is the 4-7-8 Method), but we also experience an emotional and intellectual benefit. Trading 5 minutes of email (which always turns into 15 minutes of email) for 5 minutes of quiet deep breathing opens space for creativity. It allows connections to happen in your brain that can’t happen when you are receiving information. It trades the negative energy of the world around us for positive, creative, internal energy.
Again, you get to decide. Will you continue in a cycle of anxiety or will you open a space for creativity in your life? If you want to talk with me more about this idea, schedule a time at sonyagreencoaching.com . Until next time, much love!