For artists and creatives, a supportive community of like-minded people can make all the difference in our lives. Being a creative can be lonely!
As an artist myself, I am so grateful for my own community of artists and designers, both online and in person. When one of us is feeling stuck or anxious about something, chances are others have been there before. We help each other figure out how to move forward, and it’s a great feeling.
I know I wouldn’t be as brave without their support and connection. Plus, watching others make progress and overcome obstacles is inspiring and motivating.
It turns out that having the social support of a community as a creative or artist doesn’t just feel good. It’s also better for your mental health, especially if you already deal with anxiety or depression.
It’s a robust research finding that having a supportive community decreases levels of anxiety and depression.
Studies consistently show that sustained involvement in a supportive community contributes to better long-term mental health outcomes. Anxiety and depression in particular tend to decrease over time. I see this with my therapy clients, too. The more connected they feel to other creatives, the better they feel.
Community also really helps with anxiety’s “stepchildren” that all creatives deal with, like imposter syndrome, perfectionism, avoidance. None of us is immune to these mindset issues. But they become any harder to navigate when anxiety or depression are a part of the picture.
6 reasons why having the support of a creative community is important, especially if you’re anxious.
1. Connection in Key
Anxiety can often make artists feel isolated, but being part of a creative community changes that dynamic. Several studies have highlighted the positive impact of social support as a buffer against anxiety.
With a strong support system, artists can cope with stressful situations, reduce feelings of isolation, and experience emotional validation. This connectedness fosters a sense of belonging and security, alleviating the burden of anxiety and helping artists feel seen and heard.
2. Feel Seen and Understood
Imagine being in a space where everyone understands your struggles without judgment. A supportive community provides validation and empathy. You can more openly share your thoughts and emotions, knowing that others will understand what you’re going through.
The creative process can be emotionally challenging, with self-doubt and criticism often creeping in. Feeling seen and heard in a community of creatives is a priceless antidote!
3. Share Coping Strategies
Inside a supportive community, you can share coping strategies, and increase your repertoire of anxiety-management skills. Whether it’s meditation, journaling, or a good old primal scream, swapping ideas means everyone learns new ways to manage anxiety.
Being part of such a community helps provide artists with more tools to navigate the ups and downs of a creative life. When you exchange experiences and discuss what works for you, everyone learns from each other.
4. Stronger Together
There really is strength in numbers. When anxiety tries to overpower you, having a community to lean on provides support and increases resilience. It’s easier to face challenges instead of avoiding them when you have a team behind you. This kind of camaraderie and encouragement will help you navigate challenges, setbacks, and rejections inherent in the artistic journey.
Being part of a supportive community fosters a sense of belonging and connectedness. This feeling of being accepted and understood can help alleviate anxiety and create a sense of security.
5. A Safe Space to Vent
Who doesn’t need to just vent sometimes? I listened to an artist friend recently vent about some technical issues that were creating a lot of anxiety for her. She said it was hard to vent to her (non-artist) partner, who didn’t get it and who kept trying to just solve the problem for her.
I’m so glad she turned to our creative group for a listening ear! After letting out her feelings with us, she was able to regroup and figure out a solution to the issues that were keeping her stuck in anxiety.
In the safe space of a community, it’s usually easier to be vulnerable and share your feelings without fear of judgment or shame. Opening up about your struggles not only helps you release pent-up emotions but also fosters a sense of camaraderie when others relate to your experiences.
6. Celebrate Triumphs Together
Celebrating is such a fun part of community! Life is a journey of highs and lows, and in a supportive community, you get to share both. Celebrating your triumphs, no matter how small, makes your wins even sweeter. Knowing you have a cheering squad behind you can boost your confidence and keep anxiety at bay.
You are not alone if you deal with anxiety. One in five people have an anxiety disorder, and among artists that figure is even higher.
If you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s even harder to deal with the normal challenges of a creative life, like imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and avoidance.
When you have a community of like-minded creatives who know what it’s like to manage mental health challenges, you can tap into the understanding, empathy and shared wisdom of your people.
That’s why I’m so excited to be in the process of creating a community of creatives who are coping with anxiety and other mental health issues led by me, a therapist and artist. To learn more, sign up for my email list at ballardphd.com/mindset. You’ll receive a free resource, “The Anxious Artist’s 1-Minute Mindset Shift” and you’ll receive updates and information about the community I’m building.
Stay connected, and keep creating!