man-painting-a-picture

Use these tips to make your creative life better every day!

man-painting-a-picture

Photo by Ari He on Unsplash

 

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Admit it.
Lately, you’ve struggled with the meaning of life.
It isn’t fair. If it were, everyone you know would be happy, confident, and successful. While you love reading about rags to riches phenomenons or perpetually positive people overcoming incredible odds, you can’t manage to picture yourself in their shoes.
How do they do it?
No matter what they do or where they go, everybody loves them.
They walk into a gallery, a theatre, a bookstore, etc., and steal the show.

Then you may ask yourself, like David Byrnes, is this my boring life, crappy job, or failed business venture?
When the answer is always a resounding yes, you should consider your thoughts.
What do you think of yourself?
All the challenges you face, the trials and tribulations are never as bad as your mind would like you to believe.
It’s not laziness or lack of ambition that gets in your way, it’s the endless worry about what could go wrong that keeps you from planning for the future and taking action.

But, how do you begin to change the negativity in your head so you can produce a more positive outcome?

You may not always feel like you can take control of your life or make better decisions. Yet, the power is in your hands. Don’t dwell in the past, dreading the future. You can choose to love the life you live right now, even if it doesn’t feel like a lovable life. Better planning and small imperfect steps toward your goals will help you to overcome your natural resistance to change.

 

woman-smiling

Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Decide To Be Happy

People always confuse happiness with feeling happy. They get lost in the mood of the moment, believing that life will never get better. To get out of this all-to-common trap, you must deliberately choose to be happy. What does this mean? Concentrate on what is positive about your experience.
Learning so that you can grow in understanding is more important than winning a prize or receiving an award. Meditate on the things that are working in your life. Maybe you have strong family support. Contentment comes from knowing that the present mood, happy or sad, will pass, but gratefulness and a positive attitude will help you to survive even the toughest challenges.

 

people-running-in-desert

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

Run From Perfection

The world sells perfection. Experience tells us this isn’t the case. To learn what not to do, you have to make mistakes. People forget the majority of successful people failed several times before they succeeded. Acceptance is crucial to moving forward despite discouragement and many failed beginnings.

 

woman-sitting-near-bridge

Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash

Stay In The Moment

There’s nothing as soul-sucking as choosing to approach the present as if you were living in your past. Many people find themselves revisiting old hurts and disagreements. Their refusal to trust others keeps them from making new, healthy connections. If you’re concentrating on the past, you miss out on the beauty of the present. Don’t let unfortunate events from the past steal your joy. The key to emotional freedom is learning to react appropriately to your surroundings.

 

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Photo by Tom Parsons on Unsplash

Give More Than You Get

Share your gifts and blessings with others in need. You could promote a local charity or spend time with people that have difficulty reaching out. The simple act of giving puts you in a different mindset. You’re active, not passive. Giving keeps you from being self-centered and lonely. Discovering the small impact your continued generosity has on peoples’ lives helps you to see your worth, and the worth of others.

 

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Value Yourself So You Can Value Others

When you value yourself, you avoid enabling people who are only in your life to get something from you. Spending time in an abusive, one-sided relationship makes you bitter. Being thoughtful and forgiving doesn’t mean you should settle for doormat status. If you seek out caring, well-adjusted people, they’re more likely to appreciate your contributions.

 

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Make a Plan

A careful, laid out plan to achieve your goals will help you to concentrate on the areas that will get you the results you want. You can spend countless hours multi-tasking, convincing yourself you’re making progress, but are you? The shot-gun approach to marketing, finding your targeting audience or networking only results in failure and frustration. By answering important questions about what you want to achieve and what it takes to get there, you can determine the best course of action. Plans change based on your needs. Make sure you’re flexible when challenges keep you from following your original plan. Perhaps there’s a newer, better way to reach your goal or goals.

people-jumping-in-air

Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Applying these helpful tips takes practice. It’s never easy to break habits or routines that don’t benefit you, especially when it comes to the way you approach life. However, it’s possible. I believe in your tenacity and ability to make positive changes.

 

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20 Strategies for Overcoming Stress in Your Art Career

2121211There’s nothing like coming up with something that is considered wonderfully creative (maybe even genius), but what happens when stress from outside factors gives your otherwise squeaky wheel of creativity a swift kick in the rear?

 

Many of us would prefer to avoid the topic of stress because basically, it stresses us out. However, coming to terms with job related stress is a necessity for our mental health, physical health and the health of our business.

 

Coming up with a helpful list of creative solutions to combat art job stressors ensures that everyday annoyances and career disappointments won’t get the best of you.  Keeping a list of de-stressors available doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it simply means you’re organized, self-aware and prepared to deal with life’s unexpected complications.  Here are 20 strategies to help you overcome negative stress and set you bacon the road to calm, clear and creative:

 

1) Refuse to fret needlessly over things you can’t control – We cannot always determine the outcome of certain events. While showing up prepared to meet life’s challenges increases you chances of success, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll always win the prize.  Do your part to the best of your ability. Then make the conscious decision to focus on something else.

 

2) Go ahead and take the occasional break; it won’t kill you – Some of us agree to become workaholics because we have fallen into the false belief that if we allow ourselves a little break, people will think that we’re lazy.  Slacking off aside, proper breaks often help to you to “reassess the situation” so that you can approach your work with a fresh perspective

 

3) Quit playing the Comparison Game- Not everyone’s circumstances, level or talent or experience is the same. So why even go there.  Instead focus on learning valuable skills to help you improve.  Each day, approach things with your best effort.

 

4) Don’t take on too many commitments- Consider the amount of work you can safely handle without if affecting the quality of your work, health or relationships.

 

5) Rely on the support of friends and family- Don’t neglect the people that are there to encourage you.  Knowing that there are other people that have at one time, shared your aggregation helps you to realize that you are not alone.

 

6) Don’t let others put unnecessary pressure on you or steal your joy- Sure their are bullies out there in every nook, cranny and profession, but why give them your day or your week.  People have their own agendas.  It is very easy to sucked into their manipulations, but is it good for you? Learn to politely say no to things and people that you know will harm not help you.

 

7) Stop sharing your problems with people you don’t know- Sometimes we set ourselves up by giving others the ammunition to use against us.  Remember that art is often a “cutthroat business”.  Sadly, some people will use your weaknesses, worries, and fears against you.  They naturally do what they believe is necessary for their own survival and benefit, not yours.  With the exception of sharing with the most trusted family members,friends and professionals, keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

 

8) Curb multi-tasking; it’s overrated- Everyone loves to say I accomplished all these things in a short space of time, but when the quality of your work and relationships suffer, it’s time to slow down and cut the number of tasks that you normally perform in half.

 

9) Don’t get stuck in the past, stay in the present- So many of us operate on what we used to know rather than on what we currently experience on a daily basis. If “old tapes” from the past are preventing you from making better decisions in the present (ex decisions that have the potential to move your career forward), mentally seal these negative thoughts in a time capsule, bury it, and never look back.

 

10) Concentrate on learning, not winning- When you concentrate on learning concepts instead of always winning prizes or accolades, you remove the emotional stress of always having to best others as well as yourself. The positive result of this is that doing so can add additional interest, vitality and depth to your artistic vision.

 

11) Don’t forget to ask for help-  It’s O.K. to pass certain tasks on to others that can do these tasks faster and more efficiently. Then, you can dedicate more time to your art and your business plan.

 

12) Don’t place all of your hopes and dreams into one possibility-  This could be a recipe for depression if you’re fist plan goes bust.  Instead, concentrate on coming up with more than one plan, gradually adjusting to life’s challenges.  In other words, be flexible.

 

13) Stop missing out on sleep- Getting some much needed “shut eye” decreases stress and helps to improve your overall well-being.  When you suffer from lack of sleep, social, physical, and cognitive abilities are impaired. Sleep makes you more productive.

 

14) Don’t focus on all the things that could go wrong; instead plan ahead- Expect the unexpected and make plans for how to deal with difficult situations that might arise.

 

15) Address the areas that are causing you stress- For example, if you stress over money, try to come up with a budget.  If you stress over transportation, research the different modes of transportation in your area.  When you begin to see that their are reasonable solutions to your problems, your stress level diminishes.

 

16) Encourage others and encourage yourself- When you help others as well as yourself, it improves your mood and outlook.

 

17) Don’t try to do things all at once- Breakup large tasks into smaller goals so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

18) Don’t be oversolicitous- Helping others is admirable, but when you take it to the extreme, you become “wait-staff” minus the paycheck.  People begin to disrespect you and even take advantage of you.  This can lead to excess pressure and resentment as you begin to feel used and unloved. Be generous with your time and gifts, but don’t become a doormat for users and career opportunists. Let others know you have limits.

 

19) Spend more time with positive, caring people- Their positive outlook and behavior will rub off on you and eventually become a good habit.

 

20) Avoid users and narcissists- When you invite users and the self-obsessed into your life, the only thing you find time for is them. The only thing they find time for is them. See the pattern. Treat them with respect, but don’t get involved.

 

Keep these items close at hand. Use them as an important part of your de-stress arsenal.  If you feel yourself slipping back into old habits, don’t fall into self-blame. Reconsider the situation. Respond accordingly and get back on track.  Remember that positive life changes take time.