Tag: Creativity

Anxiety and happy at the same time – is that possible?

Today’s weird thought is about whether you can be happy and anxious at the same time.

We have just moved house and since we moved here (The Rented House as I fondly call it), I have become gripped with quite sudden physical symptoms of anxiety which has seemingly come out of nowhere. I’ve had this feeling a few times before in my life so it is not too strange in that respect – I recognise the signs: nausea, twisted stomach muscles, lack of appetite, heavy heart and edginess. However, I don’t feel depressed. I feel sad about certain things (moving house and leaving my friends has made me incredibly sad) but I don’t feel depressed. Depression is a debilitating condition and deprives the sufferer of a part of their¬†soul. I see it as a dark, intense fog that overcomes. I haven’t got that, not even remotely. In fact I feel quite happy with my lot at the moment. I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to sleep. I want to be busy, I want to create, I want to draw and paint, and to work. I love work. I live for work. I love to be busy. So my weird thought is: is it possible to be chirpy and optimistic and anxious at the same time?

I’ve googled ‘can you be anxious and happy at the same time’ and google is actually quite unhelpful on the topic. There’s a lot about finding happiness after anxiety, but nothing that specifically talks about having both at the same time.

I found an appropriate quote today though.

What T. S. Eliot had to say about creativity.

What T. S. Eliot had to say about creativity.

As this quote suggests, I often find that worry feeds my creativity. And creativity kerbs the physical symptoms of anxiety while I am being creative. If I’m anxious, I draw. When I draw, I don’t feel so anxious. I feel better.

Google did help in one respect though: you can feel anxiety about happiness. There is such a thing as a fear of happiness. Now, that is bizarre. Who would be scared to be happy? Not me.

 

Is there a relationship between creativity and the ability to remember dreams?

This is a thought I had walking into the house yesterday (so not in the usual place, again). We were discussing dreams as we got home late at night after a party. My middle son was telling me about the strange dreams he has and he and I concluded that we remember our dreams a lot. My eldest son mused that he thought that he didn’t remember his dreams very often.

What will they dream about tonight?

What will they dream about tonight?

Before I go on, I want to add that creativity comes in all sorts of guises and I wouldn’t want to label one person as ‘creative’ and another as ‘not creative’. There are degrees of creativity and I’m sure that everyone has a more-or-less equal capacity to be creativity. I think that some people are more in touch with their creative abilities than others.

I’d say that my middle son enjoys using his imagination a lot and he is very good at tapping into his creativity. My eldest son is more logical and methodical and he struggles with imaginative tasks (although there are exceptions, he is currently creating a Lego Simpsons house because we are too stingy to pay ¬£180 for the official one).

What my son wants me to buy for him

What my son wants me to buy for him

The home-made Lego Simpsons house

The home-made Lego Simpsons house

So it interests me that within our little family unit we have differing abilities for dream remembering. I remember most of my dreams. It is rare that I wake up not knowing what was happening in my head in the middle of the night. My eldest son, remembers just a few of his dreams. My husband, too, claims that he remembers few dreams. His brain works in a very similar way to my eldest son. They are both have very logical brains. They both love maths and even numbers of eggs.

If I had one of these it'd be overflowing with dreams

If I had one of these it’d be overflowing with dreams

So today after another weird dream involving a trip to Japan, spilling paint in the areoplane, and being back at college I turned to Google to try to find some answers. Look what I found! The scientists agree with me.

Then I found this. So I should be a genius by my age. And also this. What am I doing with my life? I should be the Prime Minister by now. Move over David Cameron.

You don’t need to be an expert

This is not an on-the-toilet thought but a walking-to-town thought. Yesterday I was walking to town with my husband and we stumbled across a lady trying to parallel park in a tight spot. She was struggling and an impatient white van man was waiting to get past. Willing to help we both stopped to guide her in. Once she was safely in my husband turned to me and said ‘I don’t know why you are giving advice, you can’t parallel park’.

This is a skill I have yet to master

This is a skill I have yet to master

This resulted in a very heated discussion, not about my parking (as I fully acknowledge that I can’t parallel park), but about whether you need to be an expert in a field, or even good at it at all, to be able to comment and advise someone trying to achieve greatness in that field (such as parallel parking).

I sit on the ‘yes you can’ side of the fence. He was leaning more towards the ‘no you can’t’ side of the fence. He argued that you can recognise something as rubbish (such as a piece of art or writing) but unless you are an expert in the field you can’t suggest ways to improve the piece of artwork (writing, music, furniture etc). I disagreed. I think that, particularly with art in mind, that you can advise someone on how to improve a bad job even if you are unable to implement those improvements yourself.

Sitting on the fence, not either side of it

Sitting on the fence, not either side of it

Consider for a moment, TV programmes such as Britain’s Got Talent, the X Factor and Dancing On Ice. We sit at home watching and we judge. We think we can distinguish the good from the bad. We give advice (albeit falling on deaf ears). We feel able to be constructive in our criticism. But how many of us can ice skate beyond going around in circles? Could we stand on that stage and face Simon Cowell? The same applies to sports. Think about how many people shout advice to footballers at football matches?

Can you judge good singing as well as this man?

Can you judge good singing as well as this man?

Scientists have actually studied this issue and they conclude that non-experts are able to judge creativity (and perhaps other areas such as sport), or at least they can be trained to be good judges of creativity. So perhaps this conclusion, based on science, is in fact a happy medium between what I argued and what my husband argued. You don’t have to be good at the thing you are criticisng but you need to be instructed first in what constitutes the good and the bad before you can comment.

I’ll conclude this ‘thought’ with a comment I saw recently on Facebook directed at Andy Murray after he lost in the quarter finals of Wimbledon: ‘Played like a beginner!’ Indeed he did.

He needs to swing a bit higher to hit that

He needs to swing a bit higher to hit that