Stress Management For Writers

I've noticed that my children's generation likes to use the phrase: "I'm so stressed out." As if the rest of us aren't!

Stress is a result of that fight or flight reaction run amuck in our poor little human bodies. You get yelled at by your boss. You can't flee, and you can't fight. Not if you want to keep your job.

You get a nasty book review that's totally unwarranted. You want to engage in a dialogue with the reviewer, but you know that's a scenario for disaster. Keeping your fingers off that keyboard and your mouth shut is the wise answer. But, oh, how that makes you stew!

So what do you do? You stuff all those bad emotions down. Next thing you know, you feel anxious, depressed, and angry. Stress has jumped on you like stink on you-know-what. Now you have two choices: ignore it or deal with it.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Ignoring your feelings and pretending the events that caused the feelings don't affect you never, ever, works. You just end up angrier and more depressed. Or, you stuff your feelings down in an attempt to forget them. People use food to stuff down feelings -- also drugs, alcohol, or any number of other things that aren't especially good.

I'm an upfront kind of girl so I believe in always confronting an issue. Deal with it. Find ways to relieve the emotional stress and that will relieve the physical stress in no time. Deal with it physically and mentally.

Deal Like You're Secure, Even If You Aren't

1. Exercise

Go for a walk. Lift weights. Use exercise equipment. Do something physical when you feel like choking the living you-know-what out of someone who richly deserves it. I highly recommend a body bag to hang from the garage rafters. Great for practicing karate roundhouse kicks and for punching it rather than a person. Great exercise; great physical conditioning; great mental conditioning. You'll feel much better afterward.

2. Stretch

Learn to stretch every muscle group in your body. Stretching is kind of like exercise, you know, but not nearly as demanding. You feel good after stretching, not tired.

3. Journalize

Keep a journal into which you dump all those bad feelings. Let it spill at the end of the day, and you'll sleep a lot better at night. Even better, divide a journal into 2 parts. Make one part the landfill where negative emotions go to rot. Make the other part a journal of thanksgiving and list something every day for which you are truly thankful.

4. Meditate

Some people just don’t know how to relax. They live in a constant state of anxiety and negative energy. Does this describe you? Learn how to relax. Learn to meditate. Start with a 5-minute do nothing break.

Sit with your eyes closed and your hands resting comfortably. Don't purposely try to think of anything. Just be. If thoughts come, breathe deeply and let them go. If you fall asleep, then that's okay too. You probably needed a nap.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes, you just need to take a good look at your life and realize that you need to make changes if you are to enjoy your life. That’s the beginning of successful stress management.

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