When it is your job to create art and entertainment everyday people, it can be downright stressful at times to push forward. Sometimes pressure comes from the business end, as commercial expectations must be met. Sometimes pressure comes from a deadline or tough timeline. And sometimes pressure comes from within.
Regardless of where that stress comes from, a positive approach is often key to finishing the task at hand. To learn more about how some very creative people stay both positive and productive, I spoke to seven artists on behalf of Lifehack.org.
Robby Takac, Goo Goo Dolls Bassist/Vocalist & Founder Of Music Is Art:
I just try to remember that not every idea is the best in its raw form, but most ideas are worth pursuing. If it doesn’t pan out, there’s nothing wrong with just putting it into your memories file and maybe revisiting it later…and if not, at the very least, you have learned how to write something in a way you can avoid ever doing again.
Lucy Woodward, Singer/Songwriter:
Staying positive can be one of the biggest challenges no matter how “positive” of a person you are. I can become the queen of despair when dealing with a difficult person, a rejection or an overwhelming wave of catching up on the daily check-off lists. I have learned that most times — and I emphasize most — that my state of mind is the only thing that can change itself.
I change little things like eat cleaner (therefore I sleep better), relax a little (have wine and chocolate), hang with people who make me belly laugh deeply. On a deeper level, I stare my “blues” right in the face and ask why it’s taking over my life right now. Once I sit and arm-wrestle it a bit, I create a new relationship with it. But I have authority. It ends up passing through me like the stomach flu.
Cassandra Seidenfeld, Actress & Philanthropist:
Living in New York City can be both stressful and exciting. In a place where it’s critical to stay on top of one’s A-game at all times, health and attitude can be amongst our greatest assets.
I live in such a fast-paced environment that requires lots of juggling such as juggling schedules, appointments and time. In the frenzies of balancing life, where time is precious, the best center I’ve found is keeping a positive attitude!
Keeping a positive attitude enables me to meet the challenges of juggling and balancing my life, because no matter how I get through the day, the way that I get through it makes all the difference. At the end of the day, the quality and effectiveness of it all depends on how I dealt with each moment. In keeping a positive attitude from the start, I try to make every day a great productive day from the moment I awake!
Keith LuBrant, Composer/Songwriter:
For me, when I have a lot of projects in the air, whether it be a work for hire situation or a request by a publisher or music supervisor, I work best with physical lists. I can prioritize and schedule everything and when I complete a project, the feeling of striking an item off the list is like a mental “win.” This “win” propels me to get the next item finished. It sounds pretty obvious, but for me, physical lists work the best.
Kurt Ralske, Fine Artist:
I try to remember that whatever is going on around me is is different from my internal state — I can’t control the world, but I can be responsible for my emotions. “Stress” is a sign that I am not allowing myself to enjoy the process, or that I’ve placed myself into a situation that’s not right for me. A small mental shift — like focusing more on the people around me — can work wonders.
There’s also the physical side of anxiety, which is only a health issue. It doesn’t effect me if I exercise, sleep well, and eat moderate amounts of good food. I don’t go near stimulants like caffeine; I need the sustained energy of a marathon runner, not a sprinter. Sometimes I use supplements like magnesium and L-theanine for proper sleep.
Also, putting away all the distractions, whether it be the phone, 895 cable channels (!), or social media. Some people work well with taking these breaks. I find myself down a YouTube rabbit hole looking at guitar shredding. (laughs)
Marissa Levy Lerer, Musician & Technologist:
Art — more specifically, songwriting — is how I de-stress from my “real” life. I can sit down and write a song in 15 minutes, practice that song over and over until it feels right, and then take a deep breath. At the end of that time, I can listen back to what I created and think, “I did that. I made something from nothing. That’s like a superpower. What do I have to be stressed about?”
I stay positive knowing that those bursts of creativity are inside of me and can come bounding out at any time. I can’t force it but I can have faith that they will come.
Marina V, Singer/Songwriter:
Staying positive while stressed or depressed has been a challenge for me all my life. But over time I learned a few good tricks.
One of the most effective ones is exercise: the influx of positivity during and after working out is like no other. The hardest part is starting the workout — especially when I feel down — but remembering that I’ll be feeling so much better afterwards really helps me get my s**t together.
Featured photo credit: Yamaha Corporation via youtube.com