Creative self-expression can be a positive emotional outlet for feelings of anxiousness. When we do not know how to explain what we are feeling, we can express ourselves through creating. This could take the form of writing, painting, crocheting, sculpting, cooking or anything else -it doesn’t have to be perfect or even make sense! What’s more, being in that state of ‘flow’ can give us a sense of freedom.
Since starting university, I have fully fallen back in love with writing poetry. I am that pretentious looking English student sat on the train with a notebook open and her headphones in, writing endless pages of poetry and paying zero attention to anything going on around her. The ticket man actually had to wave his hand in front of my face the other morning because I was so focused on writing that I hadn’t noticed him standing there waiting to check my ticket. I’ve found that writing poetry gives me an outlet for every single thought darting around my head at a million miles an hour, and does so in such a succinct way that it’s unsurprising how easily I’ve fallen in love with it.
I’m currently doing a poetry challenge called Escapril, in which there is a new prompt every day to write a new poem all 30 days of April, and it’s proving to be more cathartic and therapeutic than I was ever anticipating it to be. I started it simply because I liked the idea of purposely writing something new every day, however I’m now a couple weeks in and am learning that, because of the fast pace I need to be writing new poems in order to keep up, I need to come to terms with the idea that not everything I write will be perfect, and that that’s okay. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to work that I know I’m going to share because I worry that people won’t like it, or people might judge it, however as long as I like what I’m writing then that’s all that matters, and that’s becoming more and more clear as every day participating in Escapril passes.
I think it’s tremendously helpful to have some kind of creative outlet to express our emotions and help us through, and I urge you all to give poetry writing a try as – and I know this sounds cliche and cheesy – I find it properly soothes my soul. I’ve found myself getting random spikes of anxiousness recently as deadlines approach and my first year of uni comes to a close, and each time this happens I whip out my phone and write poetry in the notes section. No matter how good or bad the poems end up being, it distracts me a little bit and helps me to cope slightly better with the feelings zipping around inside me if I can spill them out into words.
Poetry isn’t about the final product but is more about the process. I’m constantly told that there’s ‘no money in poetry’, and that may be true, but as long as I enjoy it then it is infinitely more valuable to me than money. I would love to hear about any creative outlets that you engage in to help with anxious thoughts, so please do leave a comment letting me know as I’m always looking for new things to do.