Avoid Anger for Creativity

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Creativity came easily on my back patio. This was my Thoreauvian go-to place for fun as well as quiet getaways to write and dream. In my custom-made gazebo the morning sun warmed a gentle breeze that day, while its screens kept out mosquitoes.

I’d planned a good two hours to think, and complete my final book chapter before it was due at the publisher.

I’d barely settled in, when music suddenly blared from what seemed like another era, but was my neighbor’s yard where three giddy teens had gathered.

No surprise that creativity tanked, or that my anger spiked to trigger a knee-jerk reaction. “I’m headed over to get rid of that noise,” I told Robyn, my close friend and assistant.

It’s important to point out that anger and Robyn rarely if ever, fit into the same setting. Today was no different. Robyn asked calmly, “What’s more important to you?” She went on, “… to gain an hour’s quiet, or to keep a good neighbor?”

My friend’s invitation to avoid anger was also packed with an inferred incentive to crank up creativity through anger’s antithesis, kindness. The brief question, posed in a calm tone, helped me salvage enough serotonin well-being fuel to rewire my writing gazebo.

By the time I paused, brewed coffee, gathered my notes, and sketched an outline, the music stopped and the teens retreated inside.

Anger averted in this situation, served up a reminder to avoid that snarky remark in favor of a kinder gesture one can live with. Not that I always get it right, when annoyance knocks without warning.

In fact, few of us toss calm back when frustrations smack us down. When we do dismiss anger’s toxic chemical cortisol, however, we prep our brains for its aha fuel, serotonin.

In spite of its seeming popularity, anger floods cortisol to our brains and to those around us. A few ramifications of this deadly toxin, include:

  • It stops learning in that same situation
  • It lowers the immune system
  • It raises blood pressure
  • It literally shrinks brains – and
  • It can shave years off a person’s life.

Worth stepping back to block a bullet from reaching anger’s target, our brain’s wellbeing? What triggers remind you to avoid anger for the sake of enjoying a creative opportunity instead?

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