As a creative professional, I have to be aware of all the life’s elements that might impact my work in a negative (or positive way). The way we approach our everyday life and “thinking” impacts us now more than ever before. Being constantly overwhelmed with too much information is unhealthy. Moreover, being exposed to negative information all the time – is deadly. We are forming our perception of the world upon what media exposes us to and it exposes us to the most negative perception of the world. Why? Shouldn’t we question that a bit more? While you can blame media (for doing their job in quite a successful way) for not exposing us to positive news as well (which won’t produce that much attraction to our brains, sorry, we are wired that way and they know it.. any good marketing strategy is using psychology in its approach….), you can also be a responsible adult and CHOOSE what the input to your mind will be. It’s your choice. Yeah, I know you will have fewer topics to discuss in a variety of meaningless & pointless conversations. What about other downsides? Yeah, less dopamine. You will have to actually do or achieve something to feel good, instead of using a curiosity triggers (for dopamine) for instant gratification on social media that eventually leads to – nowhere.
1) mortal fear,
2) social fear (for whenever you submit yourself for an evaluation, for instance, publish your work to the public),
3) fear of fear itself (which causes you to avoid doing the thing that made you fearful in the first place = usually transformed into procrastination or perfectionism)
What exactly happens when we experience fear?
Our amygdala fires which inhibit prefrontal cortex. The appropriate reaction towards the fear happens when amygdala & prefrontal are in balance. (panic happens when they are not).
So, since it is impossible to avoid fear – what we can do is to find a way to respond to it more reasonable and appropriate.
= Fear gets our attention immediately
= We tend to remember scary things more easily
= Things that are easier to recall will seem more common
= We have a tendency to notice information which confirms our already held beliefs & discount info which it doesn’t (confirmation bias)
Notice the feedback loop of 4 points above and how fear is feeding itself with this process.
= Why the world today, while generally richer, healthier, freer and more peaceful than ever before in history is now more fearful than it ever has been?
As a human being, we are naturally terrified of the prospects of our own death. And when we are reminded of our own mortality, this triggers a panic response in the brain which is often actually unconscious and acts more as a general anxiety (terror management). Then, we are more prone to temptations because we need an immediate relief. Logically (and biologically), you won’t work on your long-term projects while feeling like that. Fear is a creativity killer. When you feel positive, happy & safe, you will have more insights, whereas when you are stressed or scared you will literally have none at all.
Reading, watching, listening about death, destruction and impending doom, not only reminds us of our own mortality but they also increase anxiety and promote fear response. Amygdala goes crazy and prefrontal cortex is working overtime to inhibit its response.
What good are we doing while watching every detail of any crisis that unfolds? Not much. And how does it affects our ability to do something good to and for this world? It hampers or completely stops it.
Start with a week, or even a day or two – without exposing yourself to any drama & news & fear. And watch the change. Be a guardian of the input to your mind and see what happens.
I am here as a proof. If I watch series, movies and read news (scroll through fb is like reading the news…), I am never creative in those days. I didn’t really connect it until I started to learn about the neuroscience and recently when I started to learn from Mike Monday – the explanation came in a most simple and comprehensible form connecting the two (neuroscience and my own experience which I couldn’t put in words by now). So, this post is inspired by one of the lessons of Mike Monday.