Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 17: Stress and Release

The stress we experience day by day builds and wanes based on our responsibilities at the time. It's different if you are single, the mother or father of a toddler versus a teenager and whether we hold a day, night or midnight job and write around the edges of these experiences.

At, the society states that stress is not always bad: "Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price."

Yet, as anyone who has tried to sit still long enough to even write a thank you note when life is pushing you into action knows, rational thought may be the first thing to go. Creativity may be the next. The brain, as part of a physiological system that depends on a steady heart and blood flow reacts to an overdose of stress by temporarily shutting down. According to, the cognitive systems of an overload include memory problems, an inability to concentrate, poor judgment, negativity and constant worrying.

As we have been told as a society, the way around stress is to learn how to relax, which is an exercise only the person under stress can determine. However, the one thing a writer should never do when stressed is put that stress on the writing itself. (Map out a project instead of beating your head against a wall trying to come up with a lead. Daydream your way through a passage, breathing deep. Or just imagine floating on an ocean of possibilities that will never let you down.)

But never let writing become less than the joy it can be by trying to beat it into submission as another stressor.

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