There comes a moment in the anxiety that can turn into a crisis, a black hole that consumes all the creative energy and leaves only oppressive dust: compulsive and repetitive thoughts, unstable breaths, stomach pains, head or back, omnipresent anguish, sweating and tachycardia. Before this discomfort becomes an uncontrollable experience, Steven Kotler, author of “Stealing fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs and maverick scientists are revolutionizing the way we live and work” and “The James Altucher Show”, explains how Anxiety can become a resource in favour of creativity.
From a biochemical premise, Kotler explains that “anxiety and euphoria – also translated as excitement – are the same thing. Anxiety is caused by the excess of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is, in small amounts, a chemical to focus attention on. The only thing that differentiates them is the framing that is given to them. The way they are interpreted. “In other words, if the physical sensations that are beginning to be felt are directly associated with the experience of an upset, the result will be anxiety, but if, on the other hand, the physical sensations are rethought and direct towards an awareness of sustained attention, the result will be creativity.
To achieve this, Kotler invites, first of all, to learn to breathe correctly:
When you are nervous, the heart rate increases and the breathing becomes shallow, which means that the air exchange decreases and basically, the bottom of the lungs is filled with carbon dioxide. Therefore the brain receives a signal that something is not right and activates the anxiety response.
Therefore, before the first physical symptoms it is important to breathe properly, that is, to inhale for four seconds, hold the breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, hold it for four seconds and start again.
Next, the objective will be to reframe the emotions:
Communicate to yourself that you are excited / excited, and not nervous. For example, saying ‘I am excited by this speech that I have to give’, ‘I am excited for the promotion they gave me at work’. It is a working tool of cognitive behavioral therapy, which will allow to get out of the vicious cycle of neuroticism. […] A new story can be carried out if you are alert and ready, instead if you are suffering from fear and anxiety.
And finally you have to pay attention to the physical triggers, to those movements or gestures that are made when you are under the wave of euphoria – like a snap of fingers, soaking the lips, movements of feet. The goal is to repeat these gestures before doing the activity that is causing anguish and thus release the excessive energy that is accumulating in the body: “These are ways to give priority and make signs of how to enhance the energy inside, and avoid spend it fighting against it. ”