If you are tired of checking the news and watching TV series on Netflix, then the following might be of interest to you. I have always been amazed by the power and the influence music can have on our brains and emotions. In this article, I would like to talk about the combination of music, arts and the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freund, which is called psychological sublimation, and how it can aid people to tackle negativity and stress factors in general.
What is psychological sublimation?
According to educator and author, Kendra Cherry, it is a psychological defense mechanism that can help you deal with feelings, and negative impulses by expressing them through a certain activity that would end with a productive, positive result. For example, you experience extreme stress that comes from lockdown and the lack of social life due to Covid-19, but you decide not to handle it by self-destructive behaviour like consuming too much alcohol or other harmful activities that would have another negative impact on your health.
Sublimate Feelings and Stress via Music
Instead, you could grab your guitar and write a song about it. If you are not into lyric writing, playing any kind of instrument or singing would be also sufficient to channel negativity and express your feelings. Playing an instrument, besides stress relief, can also improve your cognitive skills like concentration and memory as well. In addition to this, I tend to emphasise the benefits of singing too.
The voice is the most natural instrument one can possess. If you are uncomfortable with singing in front of others, that is totally okay, sing your favourite Aretha Franklin tune in the shower then! Sing your favourite melodies wherever and whenever you feel safe and comfortable. I would strongly encourage you to do so because music is magical and you can only benefit from it. The concept of the late Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist, Zoltan Kodaly also shares the same idea.
Different Ways to Stress Relief via Other Art Forms
If you do not do or like any of the above mentioned methods regarding music, other art forms for instance, poetry and generally creative writing could also give you a hand to tackle stress factors. Write a sonnet about how you feel! Are you unsure of it? Do not care about whether it is professional or not! Put your focus on the message, type down whatever you think or sense at the moment, you will feel much better after finishing it.
If you like music and arts but prefer physical activities, then dancing could be easily the one for you to do in order to deal with the side effects of Coronavirus or with any kind of stress factors. Put on some classical or contemporary music, whatever genre you are fond of, and just move to the rhythm. Dancing to music can not only help with stress release but also can improve coordination skills, and by the way, it is a good exercise too.
Fine art, especially painting can be another route to reach positive vibes. In 2017, director David L. Bushell made a short documentary with Jim Carrey with the title ‘I needed color’. In this short film, the actor speaks of a period of his personal life, of a bleak winter in New York City when he felt depressed, and negative and he decided to make paintings to colour those cold and foggy winter days.
Jim also speaks of a personal issue that was another reason why he started this project that time and that painting became a medicine, a cure that helped him going through a healing process inside. Colouring the canvas became his channel to express negative feelings and emotions.
So if you feel down due to any kind of stress factor, an instrument, your voice, an empty canvas and small portions of paint, but even a pen and paper can provide you comfort as well.
However, it is also important to say that the above mentioned artistic, creative activities are not the only ones which in Freud’s sublimation can be applied. The point is to find a constructive activity that can help you to go through hard times. I hope my article will help you to find a route to deal with negativity. Many ways and opportunities lie ahead. Which one will you choose?