Lenten Blog Day Seven 6 Ways to Cope With Anxiety
During Lent, we are on quest to live UnAfriad, to live with courage and hope even in uncertain times. Part of that quest is learning to cope with anxiety. Last Sunday therapist Matthew Swartz gave a lecture at our church called “Anxiety Made Simple.” He ended the lecture with 6 ways…. 6 things that we can do be fight anxiety. For the past week, we have been going through the list. Gratitude, Kindness, Stillness, Belonging and Movement. Today, last on the list is creativity. Be Creative.
Part of coping with anxiety is simply controlling our brains; putting into our brains good and positive thoughts to keep us out of the anxiety rabbit hole. A creative act like drawing or writing or knitting can help us focus our minds and have the same effects as meditation. It will reduce stress, lower blood pressure but also kick off some helpful chemicals in the brain.
We all know what it is like to be “in the zone”, that mental state where we are so immersed in an activity that we lose all sense of self and time. It is also called “flow”. Being in a state of “flow” through creative activity floods our brains with dopamine, the feel-good chemical. We are motivated and happy. Creativity that stimulates the brain comes from (according to the Harvard Medical Publishers) “a hungry mind, a thirsty mind” HMP goes on to say that creativity can produce happiness, but be wary of contentment – It is the enemy of creativity. Contentment says “let’s just sit by the fire and drink cocoa.” Creativity says..”lets do a puzzle or play a game.”
Researchers say to get the most benefits from creativity, pursue something new, even in a familiar activity. Knit a pattern you have not tried before. Draw or paint in a different way. Write a story instead of a journal or vice versa. Challenge your brain and get creative.
The apostle Paul says it so well. 2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. Romans 12:2
Grace and Peace