Why Anxiety Hurts Your Creativity

From Sylvia Plath to Vincent Van Gogh and beyond, we hear about ‘tortured artists', leading some to think anxiety can help creativity. The truth is it doesn't. We’ve always rather fancied the idea of artists and mental illness as a pair. From Sylvia Plath to Vincent Van Gogh and beyond, we can’t get enough of the ‘tortured artist.’ So much so that many of us make the mistake of thinking that we should be able to produce our best work during times of distress.  n reality, though, as many modern artists are finding, this needn’t be the case. Yes, there is a correlation of sorts between mental illness and great artists of the past, but no one can say precisely what that is. One thing’s sure; those of us who experience anxiety often are all too aware that it kills, rather than creates that artistic flair.  And, when you think about it, this makes complete sense. Anxiety is all-consuming, after all, and it’s certainly not an emotion that reaps productive rewards. To further prove that, we’re going to look at how anxiety actually kills art, and what you can do about it.

Anxiety Distracts The Mind

Perhaps the main reason art and anxiety can never work together is the fact that anxiety is the worst form of mental distraction. When you’re worrying about something or getting into an anxious spiral, you’ll likely struggle to come up with one creative idea. That’s because the neurons in your brain are already firing at 100mph. Instead, you need to find a place of calm before being able to make anything. You can do this in a range of ways, including pre-creation meditations, or even smoking sessions of mind-focusing cannabis like this island pink strain. However you do it, the point is that you have to quiet your mind ahead of time. And, that alone suggests that anxiety shouldn’t be anywhere near your artistic processes. CBD oil can also help with anxiety. Check out our article below!

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Best Path Through High Stress

It’s also vital to note that individuals experiencing the high stress levels caused by anxiety would do best to take it easy and not push themselves creatively. As anyone who’s experienced it will know, anxiety can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed in the face of even small or usually enjoyable tasks. And that can lead to a worsening of symptoms unless they take themselves away and allow themselves the down-time they need to re-find their sense of calmness. And, as if you hadn’t guessed, taking it easy certainly doesn’t mean settling down in front of that canvas… at least not yet!

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Pressure Is The #1 Creativity Killer

Let us not forget that pressure is the worst killer of creativity there is. And, what does anxiety incite if it isn’t pressure? The worry about not living up to others or not creating anything worthwhile can, in itself, become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it’s one that’s pretty inevitable if you’re making anything without working through anxiety first. Before you settle into crafting, painting, or creating anything, you therefore need to ease that pressure cooker or tackle your anxiety head-on. Whatever you do, you certainly shouldn’t bring it to the canvas with you.


From Sylvia Plath to Vincent Van Gogh and beyond, we hear about ‘tortured artists', leading some to think anxiety can help creativity. The truth is it doesn't.

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