Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Got Stress? The Doctor's In...
Sometimes stress seems like an "occupational hazard" for writers.
We agonize over deadlines, struggle with writer's block, and stretch ourselves to the limit.
Not to mention the constant juggling of other professional and personal demands.
Who wouldn't feel a bit overwhelmed from time to time?
Well, here to help us mellow the madness and answer a few stress related questions, we have with us today at Pen and Prosper, Dr. Serena Wadhwa of TriQual Living.
1. Dr. Wadhwa, is stress ever a good thing? If so, how?
Absolutely! We require a certain amount of stress that allow us to feel challenged, stimulated, and energized. When we are "understressed" or "overstressed' this reduces our ability to stretch ourselves and grow. Most people do well with an "optimal" level.
2. How about positive affirmations and mantras...do they work in terms of mellowing the madness?
Yes, it's possible. Some research indicates that specifically constructed affirmations create a different "pathway" in our brain for us to follow.
3. Are writers more inclined to stress than other "worker bees?"
It depends. I believe that the individual really makes the difference in terms of perceptions, abilities, coping skills, experience, lessons learned, etc. I know many writers struggle with writer's block, which can create more stress, particularly if there's a looming deadline for a project.
4. Is "writer's block" reality or perception?
Both. We may perceive a block to our creativity and there may be blocks to our creative flow (work pressures, family, unexpected events, emotions, etc.)
5. Are there gender differences in the way men and women deal with stress? Who's better?
Yes, some research indicates that women tend to deal with stress by looking for support, while men may look to problem-solve. This is partly related to the chemicals released during times of stress. Of course, these are overgeneralizations, but the release of certain chemicals do influence certain behaviors. As far as who’s better, I can’t answer that question. It’s just that men and women deal with things differently and this is something necessary to keep in mind.
6. Blogging seems to be a popular way that many workers today vent and deal with work woes. Would you advise it?
Venting can be both a helpful and harmful strategy to deal with frustration. Yes, individuals want to “get out” what’s bothering them and venting (whether through blogging or verbalizing) can be cathartic and help the person feel emotionally better, as the energy created, was discharged, however, when the same incident is vented again, it may “cement” the problem. Blogging seems to be different than journaling because of the often publicized nature. Individuals may say things they later regret and if blogged, it’s posted for others to possibly see. Additionally, venting doesn’t necessarily deal with the issue. For example, if I have a boss who has unrealistic expectations and expects me to work 12-14 hour days, venting about him doesn’t solve anything. In fact, it may reinforce my sense of helplessness and lack of control, rather than helping me seeking options to reduce these feelings and thoughts.
For more ways to handle stress and make progress in your writers' goals, sign up for Dr. Wadhwa's informative, engaging online classes starting September 6th. See www.coffeehouseforwriters.com
Okay, Pen & Prosper readers, how has stress affected your writing, or is it a non-issue? What clever ways have you found to combat it? Do tell...