Are People With Anxiety the Most Creative?

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We've been wondering.

Person sitting at a desk to paint

A rapidly looming deadline is enough to give anyone anxiety and for the ‘tortured souls’ of the creative world, there’s a strong enough historical link between anxiety and creativity to earn the adage ‘suffering for one’s art’.

For Lena Dunham, anxiety is the catalyst for her own creative journey.

“I’ve been in therapy since I was seven; that’s probably helpful,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “The way I process my experiences is to translate them into some artistic form. I don’t know another way to get through them.”

If you’re a creative with a tendency to get worked up, you might find a little relief in the fact that there’s actually a neurological link between those who experience anxiety and have high levels of creativity.

Ingegerd Carlsson, a Norwegian psychologist of Lund University, conducted a study in 2000 that proved that those who score highly in tests of creativity also tend to also score higher in traits of anxiety than that of their low-creativity counterparts. The link lies in the frontal area of the brain: highly creative people generally use both hemispheres to deal with both creative problem solving and coping with anxiety.

There may well be a silver lining, even to the greyest cloud.

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