Turn Your Anxiety into an Asset

A great deal of confusion surrounds the emotion we call anxiety. The feeling is unpleasant and makes us want to avoid whatever has aroused it, but we all know there are times (like going to the dentist) when we have to press on regardless. Few of us would ever think to describe anxiety as an asset. Yet life coach and holistic psychotherapist Robert Gerzon, author of Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety, actually believes anxiety can be extremely useful. In fact, he claims that “follow your anxiety” is as good a dictum as Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss”! He sincerely holds the view that anxiety will take us to the same destination as our bliss, a position predicated upon the idea that the pursuit of bliss will inevitably lead us into anxiety-inducing situations that we must face and overcome in order to achieve the bliss we seek.

Man Getting Anxious over His Finances

Contrary to what you might expect, anxiety can be a very useful feeling. (Photo: Public Domain Photos)

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Creativity Can Cause Anxiety

Being Creative Means Taking Risks

Creativity involves a thought that goes beyond the generally accepted, provokes anxiety in others and tests the security of one’s own perceptions. – Peter Lomas in Cultivating Intuition

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity. – T. S. Eliot

Surreal image of a ghostly face, and a woman flying near the Eiffel Tower

Strong innovation, striking originality, and prolonged gestation periods can all generate feelings of anxiety.
(photo: publicdomainpictures.net)

These quotes may explain why so many great creators show signs of psychological stress. Depression is famously common among writers, for example. However, this is not to say that mental disorder is necessary for creativity to flourish.

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