Illustration with Intention: 100 Ways to Worry by Lauren Lee

The blessing and the curse of being a highly-sensitive creative person is one and the same. Having the ability to feel and absorb what happens around us can be a source of great inspiration as well as a constant barrage of anxiety. As someone who deals with this on a daily basis, the struggle can seem overwhelming at times. Hence, how pleased was I to discover Lauren Lee’s beautifully illustrated 100 Ways to Worry on Behance!

The 100 Ways to Worry project was designed to create a duality between our tendency to acknowledge the things that cause anxiety and the ability to create a path away from it. By pairing a worry with an affirmation, Lauren’s goal is to help us find a release and a way out.

One of my favorite details about Lauren’s illustrations of people is are the featureless faces. You might think that, by removing eyes, nose and mouth, it would somehow dehumanize the characters, but it simply is not the case. It actually softens the illustrations and gives them a tenderness that I find quite engaging. I loved this project so much, I reached out to Lauren for a small interview and I’m grateful that she agreed. Enjoy her words below and follow her Instagram for more daily inspiration and see her portfolio here.

This is a really incredible project. What inspired it?
Thank you so much! I’m extremely grateful that others relate to this project. The inspiration for 100 Ways to Worry partly comes from my own struggle with an anxiety disorder, which can be difficult to explain and sometimes feel isolating. I began researching more about the anxiety epidemic in America, and I found one of every five Americans suffers a form of anxiety. Despite being so widespread, I feel anxiety is a predominantly silent issue and wanted to raise awareness.

I noticed that this is a crowd sourced project. How did it affect you to receive the notes from strangers?
When I first began the project, the answers mostly came from people I knew. As the survey began to spread, it was alarming but also assuring to know that anxiety really is an epidemic felt by a huge population. More than that, I felt honored that people shared their concerns with me – I felt so touched by so many stories and even learned things I never knew about my close friends.

Can daily, tangible reminders of positivity help mollify America’s growing anxiety epidemic? 100 Ways to Worry is a tool to exercise small reminders of positivity every day. The audience submits one worry and one affirmation digitally, which will be designed on a double-sided card. I then mail back their design as well as archive it for a widespread audience. This intimate exchange brings therapeutic release and facilitates the feeling of a community undergoing the same dilemma.” – 100 Ways to Worry

Anxiety is indeed a huge issue in our world. How does creativity help?
Because the meaning of anxiety varies from person to person, there is no universal cure. Neurology proves that positive thinking is a powerful, longterm solution to anxiety, more effective than medication. Learning to think positively is like learning a new language or training a muscle, it requires every day practice. For this project, I wanted to turn the process of positive thinking into a routinely practice. I think creativity shines most when it’s able to communicate something ambiguous and make it relatable.

What’s your ultimate goal with this project?
Slowly but surely, I’d love to build a platform for 100 Ways to Worry to live on. Admittedly, it’s in its earlier stages where I am gathering the worries and executing illustrations. My end-all goal is to create these intimate exchanges that turn something hurtful into something beautiful, to facilitate a sense of a community undergoing a common dilemma.

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