Write the Stress Away
|March 16, 2012||Posted by Hajra under Life, Stress|
Yes, I am getting more regular with posting. Cough, cough, this is a guest post!
The lovely Tanja from Crystal Clarity Copy writing writes a wonderful post on driving the stress away through writing. I am going to let her do all the talking today (first for me!); but do check out her bio below and go stalk her everywhere! Take Over Tanja!
Stress is what happens in our bodies when our brains think we’re dealing with a situation that’s too much for us to cope with. It’s a perfect demonstration of the mind-body connection. After all, stress doesn’t kick in unless our minds believe we’re out of our depth. And yet, between the raised heart rate, blood pressure spike and hormone floods, the response itself is overwhelmingly physical.
Some level of stress is fine – it challenges us, keeps us alert and stops us getting bored. But too much too often can end up having a serious impact on our mental and physical health.
WRITING AS STRESS MANAGEMENT… TRUE STORY!
Writing – whether it’s an article for someone else, blogging publicly, or just journaling privately – can be a powerful tool to help you manage your stress. There are several reasons for this, one of which is simply that taking time out to write can lower stress in and of itself. But beyond this, writing can also help with:
- Getting clarity: bizarre as it sounds, we don’t always know exactly what’s causing our stress. Sometimes, we’ll blame a person or situation, when the real cause is something completely different. Writing can help us get crystal clear on what’s really going on below the surface.
- Changing state: we can really only experience one state at a time. If I’m feeling confident or grateful, I can’t simultaneously feel worried or upset. Writing can actively help me change my state from stressed to something more constructive.
- Practical problem-solving: remember that stress management isn’t just about the feelings that stress causes. It’s also about looking deeper at the specific situations that stress us out, and identifying practical ways to avoid or deal with them.
Stress management writing techniques
The first thing to realise when you write to manage stress is that there’s no “one right way”. Whether you prefer the tactile sensation of pen and paper, or the high-tech convenience of a keyboard – either is absolutely fine. The best method is always whatever works for you. Next, be aware that you can choose from several techniques. For example, you could try:
- Keeping a stress-journaling table: the simplest, easiest technique is probably to create and use a stress-journaling table for a week or two. This helps you to get clear on what causes your stress, how you respond to it, and how you cope most effectively.
- Gratitude journaling: nothing beats gratitude journaling for practical conscious state-changing. Just remember, this isn’t about simply writing a list and trying to pretend that you’re not stressed – it involves genuinely altering your emotional state. That means that as you write, you actually need to let yourself feel and experience gratitude for the good things in your life.
- Brainstorming: an ideal way to kick off your problem-solving process is to brainstorm it. Write your problem situation as a question at the top of a page and set yourself a time limit. Then list as many answers to that question (as serious or silly as you like) until the time runs out. No editing, no evaluating – just write!
IMPORTANT: create an overall stress management plan!
It’s vital to remember that stress can have severe health effects – so we need to treat it seriously. That means writing should simply be one technique in your overall stress management plan. Make it something you do regularly – at least once a week if daily feels like it’s too often. And of course, if you notice physical signs of stress, don’t take chances – speak to your doctor or health professional!
OVER TO YOU NOW
- How much stress do you have in your life right now?
- What do you do to manage it?
- Do you already use writing techniques?
- If not, which (if any) of the techniques above appeal to you?
WHO IS TANJA NOW?
Tanja Gardner is a professional copywriter, word weaver and story spinner at Crystal Clarity Copywriting Ltd. She helps difference-makers like you write with concise, creative clarity that your readers intuitively “get”. That means they understand EXACTLY what you offer – which opens the way for you to make more of a difference in their lives.