A not so fuzzy fact: stress makes you stupid. Research tells us that downing the cocktail of an anxiety-ridden day not only leaves our emotional compass out of whack, but causes a few things to go awry in that beautiful brain of yours.
Common signs and symptoms of stress brain:
- Being called ‘snippy’ by your mom
- Forgetting how to smile (I think it’s something to do with up-turned lips??)
- Going all mariah carey diva when your server-in-training brings you tabasco instead of sriracha (downright criminal, I know)
- Your boyfriend making fun of your stress-induced eye twitch has become less ‘lol’ and more ‘STFU’
Wait Wait Wait.
Stress already drains our emotional and spiritual sparkle but now it wants to change our cognitive weather to foggy with a chance of thunderstorms?
Seems a bit like adding insult to injury don’t you think?
Blame it on the hormones.
Whether the stress is all in our heads, or as real as a rabid squirrel in front of us, our bodies get its protective armor suited up in the same way.
See, us lovely humans are wired to respond to stress by sending lightning bolt signals to our adrenal glands- promptly alerting our ‘fight or flight’ mode to be switched on. (Alert! Alert! This dummy left her brand new iphone 6 at the bar and doesn’t have a lock code on all those selfies)
What does this mean? Well your body wants the best for you, and starts working in overdrive to help you deal with the threat in any way it can.
The parts of your brain that control logic and reasoning are suddenly thrown to the back of the bus, putting that damn ape-like primitive mind in the driver’s seat. (cue for questionable purchases at H&M, grocery store tantrums and mid-exam meltdowns)
Not having VIP access to all your higher brain functions means see yeah to well-reasoned analysis, smart decision making or your eye for the bigger picture.
The purpose of this post wasn’t to send you spiralling facedown into your duvet for a ‘personal day’ of caramel coyo and matcha lattes.
However I WOULD like to shed some light on how to use creativity to shun stress brain and make room for a smarter + happier you.
I have experienced first-hand how squeezing creativity out of unexpected outlets can unleash the mind into delicious, unchartered territory where Stress Town = Population 0.
Now your turn: Without expectation, agenda or judgement, try your hand at a couple of the following creative acts…
You may just find yourself blissfully lost in a new form of expression.
- Make a big, beautiful, Oprah-worthy dream board. If I had it my way they would be required in every home. #dreambig
- Get out those scissors and DIY something new, useful and fun for your home. I’m sure Pinterest will hook you up.
- Go for a walk and take artsy photos of nature. If you live in the city take pictures of interesting landmarks or buildings you take a fancy to.
- Bust out the markers and pencil crayons and make personalized greeting cards for special occasions coming up. People don’t do this enough anymore! Nothing makes people happy like opening up a hand written thank you card designed with them in mind.
- Write love letters to your friends and family in your best hand-writing, explaining how much they mean to you. #gratitude
- Put on a scavenger hunt for your friends and loved ones. Needn’t be any occasion but an open Saturday!
- PAINT- go to your local art store and make a small investment in some quality watercolour paints. Let the colours take you away!
- Learn a new skill: knitting, skateboarding, fishtail braiding, latte art- you name it! Expand those horizons!
- Indulge in unexpected reading. Head to a book store and spend the afternoon sampling books you wouldn’t normally purchase. ‘Italian Cooking for Dummies?’ ‘Frommers Guide to Egypt?’ Sure why not.
- Morning Journal Scribbles: when you mind is still hatching with dreams and new ideas, write all that nonsense down before you forget it- you may have a winner in there!
- Sing it out- Type in one of your oldest favourite songs on youtube ‘with lyrics’ and have a solo (or group) karaoke sesh. It sounds silly until you 4 songs into Beyonce’s ‘Survivor’ wondering why you don’t do this every day.
- Listen to a new podcast. On your daily walk, while you brush your teeth, while you cook dinner.
- Play around with creating your own home-made beauty products & natural remedies. Like THESE
ediblenourishing face masks.
Well whaddya think? Do you practice any of these on a weekly basis? Any creative habits that you find particularly therapeutic? Please share with me!