Humor. Health. Healing.

Remember the game, Operation? Using  tweezers, a player has to pull out the white plastic game pieces representing different but well known health risks. If the tweezers hit the side then the man’s red nose blinks and a buzzer sounds.

Remember the pencil you had to pull out of the man’s wrist? The injury was called writer’s cramp. But there are actually many more common health concerns when it comes to writing. Aches and pains in the neck, shoulder, back, arms, fingers – all from over use and abuse. The basic message is: sit right, take breaks, and listen to your body. Christina Katz covers Staying Healthy in this week’s ezine, The Prosperous Writer.

But I want to talk about a different kind of health.

Mental health.

After reading Elana’s post on fear, and then reading Casey’s post on fear, and then reading all the writers chiming in not only to encourage but express their own fears and self-doubts, it made me realize something.

Almost all writers/artists experience fear and stress. It comes part and parcel with being a writer. And I think it’s wonderful when writers share these kind of emotions on their blogs, because it helps us realize we’re not alone. Helps me realize I’m not alone.

But we can’t let these emotions rule our life or our writing, or we’re not going to make it very far. We all experience the ups and downs. Our emotional health affects our physical health.

Then I read this article on laughing. And I realized that I can’t give in to the negative thoughts. Somehow, I have to fight them. Express them and then let them go.

And then I read this encouraging post by Jody Hedlund. When I’m down, I can’t give into it. I must pull myself out of the miry clay, the pit of despair, the fear that binds –  and I must persevere with hope and faith.

My faith in God plays a big part in how I deal with negative emotions. But it’s not the only way. Sometimes, I eat girlscout cookies. Sometimes, I talk with friends. Sometimes, I cry. Sometimes, I just push forward and keep writing and living.

How do you pull yourself out of negative thought patterns? How have you found hope when dealing with disappointment, stress, or fear?

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16 Responses to Humor. Health. Healing.

  1. The Alliterative Allomorph March 22, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    I’m really bad with stress. I let it consume me. My only way to overcome it is to get all of my freelance work finished earlier than the deadline I’m given, so that I don’t have any ‘obligations’ looming for a couple of days and can do what I please – which usually means writing my novel. If I can find time to write my novel then I am much more relaxed.

    So basically I get stressed out when I don’t have time to do what I love. I get moody, sore shoulders, headaches, and insomnia cause I can’t stop thinking about what I have to do re work to get it done faster! I really ought to look into meditation!

  2. Heather Kelly March 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    Laura–what a perfect post for me today. I piled on some too big goals on myself last week, and caused a lot of stress for myself. At first, I said to myself that I just needed to handle the stress better, but after yoga and my other stress reliefs didn’t help, I realized that I was being too hard on myself. Luckily I rescued myself after a couple of days of too much stress, but really. We must be kind to ourselves. I had to let go a lot of stuff, and just take some time off to refocus. And I read a lot this weekend. Now I’m recharged.

  3. Laura March 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    AA – I don’t think you’re alone!

    Heather – Recognizing that we need to take a step back is probably the first step. Glad you found time to recharge!

  4. Sherrie Petersen March 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    I have writing friends who pull me back from the cliffs of despair. And sometimes I just turn off the computer and do something real to remind myself that there’s MORE. When all else fails, Ben and Jerry are always there for me 🙂

  5. Jody Hedlund March 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Oh, I’m having a post later in the week about this very topic–our negative thought patterns. It’s easy to get mired down with them, but we do need to find ways to refocus!

  6. Laura March 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    Sherrie – I think writers desperately need writer friends because they are the only ones who can understand. Icecream works too. 🙂

    Jody – Your posts have been so encouraging and full of wisdom since I found your blog! Looking forward to that post!

  7. Karen Lange March 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    I try to replace negative thoughts with God’s word and what He says in relation to the thoughts. I also aim to stay in the Word and ‘Think on these things…’


  8. Kristen Torres-Toro March 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Talking it out with friends who understand and love me–that makes a HUGE difference!

  9. Laura March 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Karen and Kristen – Thankfully, critique groups and blogging offer so many more benefits than just what it does for our writing.

  10. Anna March 23, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    I’m starting to think being a writer equals being a stress case! It comes with the territory! Sometimes that stress goes away when I focus on my writing, but other times some venting, a hug from my husband, and a bit of chocolate make everything better.

  11. Laura March 23, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    I totally agree, Anna!

  12. Paul Greci March 23, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    I spend time outside exercising or walking to deal with stress. Sometimes I just do some conscious breathing. And sometimes I talk to someone. For me it’s important to acknowledge it and let it move through me.

  13. Karen March 23, 2010 at 1:50 am #

    I remember Operation! I LOVED me some of that game.

    It’s really easy to fall into negative thought patterns. I beat myself up all the time that I’m not making enough progress – despite that I’ve working an average of 12 hours a day for the last 4 months.

    But having people that support you, eating chocolate and reading a good book inspires me to continue on this path.

    Great post, Laura. Thanks for the blog links.

  14. Laura March 23, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    Paul – And from the pictures, you definitely have some beautiful landscape to walk through while working out any negative thoughts!

    Karen – We need to take the boxing gloves off! Hmm. That might make a good post.

  15. Jenn Johansson March 23, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    My main philosophy in life is to laugh more than I cry and don’t sweat the small stuff (it may not feel like it at the time, but in retrospect, life is 99% small stuff…so try not to dwell).

  16. Laura March 23, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Jenn – Don’t Sweat the small stuff – there’s a blog post for ya!

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