One of the things I stumble with: trying to WRITE while managing my anxiety.
Let me clarify: I do not have an anxiety disorder. I’m just a person living in the real world. That’s enough for anyone right there. Particularly in the current world (here on Planet Earth) everyone has something to be anxious about. It’s perfectly normal, actually. And when it isn’t normal, it’s still bordering on normal. Fortunately, there are ways to get around it. Here is a short list of my personal approaches (and because I have the Jesuit thing, I will list how effective I think those approaches are).
It is the act of recognizing the moment I am lost in a non-productive emotion, and asking myself what triggered it. Ideally, I should be able to sit with it, pick it apart, and give myself a break. Jesuit moment: I don’t usually give myself the break. Something to work on. I need to ask more questions, both of myself and when necessary of others.
There are a gazillion studies on how exercise, diet, and sleep affect one’s ability to cope with anxiety. Apparently it’s not just drinking more wine. Jesuit moment: oh, fine.
I know, you thought I was going to mention wine again. I was, but then I decided not to be so obvious.
I’m serious. Unless you have a medical reason not to, I recommend them. Honestly, I think there’s a missing section in the Book of Matthew where Christ created apple fritters right after that whole fishes and loaves business.
Adjust Your Environment
There have been studies linking the idea of controlling your environment, specifically your home, so that it actively promotes relaxation and calm. Personally, I’m not a Marie Kondo type, but I did go in and throw out some old crap that wasn’t bringing me joy. I also re-painted my office in a pale Colorado blue, and I keep the windows open so the light is good and the air is fresh. It’s beautiful and very appealing. I have a friend who likes to tuck little patches of lavender under her desk. I’ve been to her office, and it smells funny, so no. But the core concept is cool, right?
Based on what I have read, anxiety is anxiety. From a writer’s point of view, it is more than occasionally crippling. I won’t burden you with all of the ways I can defeat myself in a day. Suffice it to say, I’m pretty damn creative on that front.
A quick list of (strictly my own off-the-cuff) ways to combat anxiety:
- watch YouTube videos of people proposing in the middle of a flashmob
- call my mother
- drink (not recommended)
- eat (also, not recommended)
- sleep (okay, maybe)
- WRITE (and just ignore the voices)
Do not take my advice to correct anything in your life (unless you are looking for the perfect apple fritter in Los Angeles)