Stress is a part of life. It sucks, but it’s true. That’s not something most of us get to have any control over. What we can control, however, is how we react to that stress. Do we allow it to consume us or do we find ways to actually deal with it, to rise above it, to stay healthy despite it?
Interestingly enough, many writers actually are pretty good at dealing with stress. In most cases this stress is connected with the high level of competition among writers – everyone wants to be at the best writing websites page. Also, that’s because the way you have to work as a writer can often naturally defeat stress.
Wondering what the hell I’m talking about? Well, let me give you a few examples. Then you can judge for yourself!
Look at the big picture
Writing is about looking at the big picture. You can’t just focus on the individual words or sentences when you write, you have to look at the overarching meaning of the piece that you’re putting those words into. That’s always there, in the back of your mind.
It turns out, that’s an incredibly good way to fight stress. You see, there are two ways to look at what you’re doing. The first one is to look at that idea concretely – so if I’m exercising, I can look at the fact that I’m going to run two miles now.
The second way to look at what you’re doing is to look at the overarching goal. So, if you’re exercising, you’re doing so to build up your physical health.
Research has demonstrated when we stay open-minded, than we end up feeling far more energized. So always try to remember to look at the big picture and remember the overarching reason why you’re doing these things.
You’re going to have bad days
Writing is a temperamental thing. Some days you rock it. Some days you do not. Initially, when you just start out, that’s a hard thing to accept. When you’ve been writing for a while, though, it becomes second nature. On those days you enjoy the highs when you’re really productive (perhaps by working a little bit more).
And when the lows hit? You take a break, go do something else and don’t kick yourself in the teeth because you can’t get it done. Then, the next day, you get back in the saddle and do whatever you weren’t able to do the day before.
That’s something more people should do. After all, trying to fight against those bad days is incredibly exhausting and hugely unproductive. And that is something that one night of sleep won’t solve. And so, you’ll head into the next day on lower energy.
Why not, instead, take the days where work is incredibly difficult and give yourself at least a little bit of a break, so that by the time the next day rolls around you’ve got the energy to catch up and shoot ahead? In that way you’ll be just as productive and only half as stressed.
Go do something interesting so every once in a while
If you try to write steadily without a break for hour after hour that rarely goes well. You’ll find your attention wandering and the quality of your writing steadily dropping, so that you’re no longer writing for mastergrades but for middle of the road grades. What works much better is to write for a while, then do something interesting (as that’s been shown to recharge energy levels) and then get back to it.
You should do the same in other businesses, for though it might not be as immediately apparent that the quality of your work is suffering, it is. So, make sure that you take short breaks throughout your day where you do something interesting (that’s not relaxing, or fun but interesting) and you should find that you’re able to be productive for much longer period of time.
Look back to what you’ve already done instead of forward to what you’ve still got to do
Writing a book is a very difficult thing. Many people give it up, somewhere in the beginning. People are far less likely to do so, however, as they move on through the book and get more and more done. Yes, in part that’s because of the sunk cost fallacy. It isn’t just that though. It’s also that you can look back at what you’ve written before and get energized by what you’ve achieved.
You can use that in other walks of life as well. Instead of just focusing on what you’ve still got to do, instead focus on what you’ve already done. Yes, there are still three more briefs to check, but three are already done, so you’re half way!
There is always more to do, but you can make it far easier to do those things if you’re willing to spare a thought for what you’ve already done.
The writing life is nothing like how it’s portrayed in popular culture. You don’t just write two hours a day and spend the rest of the time getting drunk and chasing parties. It’s a job like any other. At the same time, writers are rarely stressed. That’s because they use the lessons they’ve learned from writing and apply them to their life at large. In that way, they fight off the stress they feel and manage to get on with what they’re supposed to do.
The great news is, so can you. Just apply the lessons I’ve outlined above and you’ll be well on your way to reducing your stress and improving your life.