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During times of crisis and uncertainty, it’s easy to feel fearful, anxious, and overwhelmed. Yet how you respond to difficult situations and isolation can help you process what’s happening and ultimately reduce stress. For writers, one of the best ways to cope with strong emotions and a “new normal” is to write about what you’re experiencing and feeling. Writer’s Relief has some ideas that may help you cope with stress and manage your anxiety.
Ways Writing Can Help You Cope With Stress, Anxiety, And Feeling Overwhelmed
Writing Provides Clarity and Catharsis
Writing about confusing and frightening times helps you organize your thoughts and possibly gain some clarity. Expressive writing is a good way to deal with and better understand the emotional fallout you’re experiencing. The catharsis felt afterward can provide mental relief—as well as relief from some physical symptoms too! After writing about your anxieties, you may find your shoulders aren’t so tight and your breathing comes more naturally.
Writing may help you feel less isolated and help you process your thoughts and feelings—it’s a way to feel less powerless.
Writing Keeps You Connected To Your Tribe
When dealing with stress and turmoil, people want to feel connected to one another. That can be harder to do when the situation doesn’t allow you to venture out or gather with family, friends, or other writers.
But even if you’re staying in, you can still connect online with other writers and the writing community! Join an online writing group—many groups are using video conferencing software to virtually get together. There’s also a vibrant community of writers available via social media: Check out the friendly, supportive writers in the Writer’s Relief Café group on Facebook.
You can develop calmness, hope, and resolve by writing and by reading what others have written. Writers are strengthened by the words that reflect our souls. Our natural desire to connect with other humans is mirrored and amplified by what we write and for whom.
Writing Lets You Make The Best Of New Circumstances
When everything is upended and nothing seems “normal,” like it or not, you’ll have a lot of new things to write about. If you’re unable to keep to your typical daily routine, you’ll also have more time on your hands—and that time can be used to write. Some scholars believe Shakespeare wrote King Lear while under quarantine. Let the Bard’s constructive use of a difficult situation serve as inspiration for you!
This could be a good time to dust off your novel manuscript and begin editing, or maybe get started writing that new book you’ve been mulling over. You can create your own “write a book in a month” project—there’s no need to wait for NaNoWriMo! You might also use this time to finish a short story or poem you put aside when you were busy, or be inspired to write something completely different.
Here are a few quotes to inspire, motivate, and help you focus on positivity:
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”— Oprah Winfrey
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”—Lee Iacocca
“Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.”—Ziggy Marley
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”—Wayne Dyer
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its joy.”—Leo F. Buscaglia
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”—William James
“Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.”—Renee Jain
“If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don’t, you’re simply ducking your responsibilities.”— Ann Richards
“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen— that stillness becomes a radiance.”—Morgan Freeman
Trying times can bring out the best in us—and can result in some of the best writing. Meditate on your best self, on humanity’s best self, and a peaceful, healthy future. Words matter. Writing helps.
Question: What activities help you deal with stress and anxiety?