Have you ever wished you could wipe your mental slate clean and start fresh? Are you in desperate need of a do-over on your latest project? On this episode, I’m going to show you how to develop emotional awareness, identify and break bad mental habits, and fight overwhelm by testing your capacity as an artist healthily and sustainably.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:07] Spinning plates and developing emotional awareness
- [6:04] Finding the reset button
- [13:07] How I give myself a fresh start
Have you ever felt so anxious or overwhelmed about a painting or project that you get stuck? Maybe it’s something you’ve never done before? Or perhaps you’ve fallen behind on a deadline, as I did with my 100 Self-Portraits for Instagram? That feeling of overwhelm can be so intense that it feels like it’s happening to us beyond our control. But these emotions are all a part of being human. Our awareness of what we are feeling allows us to decide our response. We can intentionally choose to create a different experience. When you experience overwhelm, YOU get to decide what that means and how you feel about it. It doesn’t have to derail your progress or your practice.
Break bad mental habits
Once we are aware of our thoughts, we have to make an effort to break bad mental habits. If constant criticism and judgment have been daily occurrences in our art practice, we’ve developed negative thought patterns that will take time and intention to redirect. When we bring habitual thoughts of this nature into our studios, we end up creating the same things over and over again. We never grow because we see our shortcomings as inevitable. And with these thoughts as our focus, they kind of are! If you want your future to be different, you have to think different thoughts. Practice approaching every painting as if it’s the first and last time you will ever work on it. Delete all of your assumptions and past experiences with the work so you can start fresh. With nothing standing in your way, the results may surprise you.
Test your capacity
Understanding our capacity as artists allows us to set and pursue achievable goals while keeping us from feeling overwhelmed. Knowing how many plates you can keep spinning before everything crashes is essential to preventing burnout. Yet, so many artists assume their limitations and become instantly overwhelmed without even trying. You’ll never step outside your comfort zone with that mindset. There’s nothing wrong with trying something and realizing you bit off more than you could chew. You simply learn from that decision and move on to the next. That is the power of a fresh start! However, failing to test your capacity because you assume it’s too much will keep you stuck in a creative rut.