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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Barth

Stress Kills Joy and Creativity

Stress and pressure can kill joy and creativity in one fell swoop; sometimes it settles in gently, and other times it uproots your life. You can try to ignore it, but it’s there like a shackle around your leg. I’ve watched as stress and the pressure to meet a deadline has affected others in their day-to-day life; and I know what it has done for myself. When the pressure starts to build, you notice it in the people you connect with . . . they become more reactive and emotional. It’s a place I used to be frequently, meeting deadlines, getting things done; I used to go into a panic state, riddled with anxiety and reactivity. Everyone’s reaction to stress and pressure is different; and it feels different.

I never realized how I let the pressure and stress get to me, until I started meditating regularly. I get that you are busy, working things out and trying to plan around a deadline; but have you ever stopped to think about what that stress is doing to you, your family, and your relationships? By allowing yourself to get worked up about these things, you begin to poison your pool of tranquility; when you are in a state of chaos, you cannot come up with the clear and simple answers that could aid you best in the situation you find yourself in. I’m not saying that I don’t have reactions to stress or pressure anymore, I still experience them from time to time, and I continually work on not falling down that rabbit hole; and if I do, I don’t beat myself up over it. 

If you find yourself asking, “What can Jennifer be so stressed or pressured by?” Everyone experiences different types of stress and pressure in their lives; for me it’s making sure that I show up to hold the space, to make it on time for classes, and it can sometimes be the pressure of getting the monthly blog and newsletter written and sent out; among other stresses and pressures. When I feel stress creeping in, I realize it starts at my heart. It feels like a box has been placed around it, which eventually sets off my mind. When I find myself in my head and poisoning my pool of tranquility, I stop and do one of the following: take ten deep inhales and exhales; turn up the radio and sing along with the song; get outside and find a quiet space by a body of water; get on my yoga mat and do a few sun salutations; or I sit on my meditation cushion and meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes. You may even have your own techniques for managing your stress: like exercising; it’s important to come up with ways to manage your stress and the way you experience life’s pressures. Just be sure to pick healthy ways of managing stress and pressure, as you want to live a healthy life. Stress and pressure is good for you, in small doses, as it helps you to learn and grow; but too much can actually make you physically sick.

Have you ever thought about how your relationships with family, friends and a significant other can be influenced and affected by your stress and pressure?  I have watched as stress and pressure has eaten away at family members and friends; just like they have watched it happen with me. I watched those closest to me dealing with their tension; they became reactive like a chemical reaction. In the heat of the moment they didn’t care who they hurt verbally, as they only had themselves and their stress on their mind. That energy can trickle down from them, causing you to react, or pick up on their intense energy; it’s not a pleasant experience. I’ve found when someone close to me is stressed out, I don’t know where I stand with them and I take a few steps back. My mind becomes busy wondering if I had done or not done something to set them off; and once I’m clear of that I begin to notice that it’s something else eating away at them. However; when they are burdened with pressure, I still feel it; it still affects me: emotionally, physically and mentally. It begins to poison my pool of tranquility, and slowly brings me into their frenzy. Your energy can and will influence those closest to you; which is why you need to find ways to manage stress. When I find that someone else is affecting me, I usually ask him or her what’s going on; or I remove myself from the space and find somewhere quiet to be. It’s important to look after yourself in all situations, but you also need to be mindful of those around you.

Have you been stressed out lately? Have you noticed your level of reactivity? Have you noticed how it influences those around you?

It’s important to take a step back and to analyze yourself, without judgment. Be aware of your reactions and your energy, as they are powerful and can affect another. Find your own ways to manage stress, or try one of my techniques; or book a Reiki session. Learn to manage pressure, before it kills your joy and creativity.

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