Creativity comes along with a lot of dubious traits of character. Most creative minds have been either sociopaths, narcissists, hedonists, had some superfluous kind of schizophrenia, were loners, introverts, extreme extroverts, drunken, abusive or abused, weirdos, bullies, anything but the common features that would define a normal person. Creativity is usually linked to a certain kind of disorder. Creative people are chaotic, messy, they live life according to their own rules and some of the times, they are neurotic. They take things to an extreme and react accordingly. But, as a new study suggests, neurotic people are highly creative as well.
How is it that creativity occurs in spite of one’s neurotic behavior? Shouldn’t it appear from some sort of inner silence and harmony? Well, apparently not. People who are neurotic are also prone to overthinking and they even manufacture threats that are not exactly there. Neurotics are overthinkers, they imagine all sorts of circumstances that are not linked to reality, they build up situations and they fall in their own traps of belief.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the overactive imagination might, under the proper circumstances, give ways to creative, problem-solving breakthroughs, rather than nervous breakdowns. Neurotics around the world, unite and take over the territories of creative industries! This would be a funny thing to watch. Creative meaning arising as neurotics fall in rows of mental breakdowns. Well, we know for sure that they never get bored.
Sticking to a serious perspective over the matter, we have some strong science behind the theory that backs up the link between neuroticism and creativity.
The story goes like this: if people have a preponderance of negatively driven self-generated thoughts due to increased levels of activity in the parts of the medial prefrontal cortex which are known to govern conscious perception of threat and if people also have a drive to switch to panic sooner than common individuals, which is influenced by the high reactivity in the basolateral nuclei of the amygdale, then people can experience intense negative emotions even when there is no threat in front of them whatsoever. According to specific neural reasons, high scores on neuroticism lead to a highly active imagination acting as a built-in threat generator.
People who worry when there is no reason to be worried about tend to be more creative than those who are generally laid back and understand the meaning of “ignorance is bliss”. And also apply it for a happy and fulfilling life.
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