Gary Bacon

How to Survive Melancholy: Play

Anxiety tends to result in a negative feedback loop.

Having anxiety on an issue, which causes more anxiety for having anxiety, and then thoughts spiral from there.

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says,

Find something to do— anything, even a different sort of creative work altogether— just to take your mind off your anxiety and pressure.

Going for a walk, taking a new class, or even trying a new hobby can alleviate pressure.

I’ve spent a weekend in New York to take a letterpress class. It was a new experience and one of the most rewarding trips that I’ve done in years.

Lately, I’ve been going hiking. It’s been great. I get exercise, a change of scenery spent in nature, and at times a great chat with a friend.

She goes on to say:

Einstein called this tactic “combinatory play”— the act of opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another. This is why he would often play the violin when he was having difficulty solving a mathematical puzzle; after a few hours of sonatas, he could usually find the answer he needed.

Do something fun.

Shake things up, break up the routine, and air out the brain a bit.

Often inspiration comes when we aren’t heavily in thought. Just in flow. Enjoying the moment.

Book Mentioned in Post