When my writing starts to come together, I am relieved, but I’m also anxious about what comes next.
My first response to those feelings of relief and a fluttering of anxiety almost always is to flee and to eat.
Be grateful if you don’t feel these urges. Or pat yourself on the back if once you would have responded similarly, but you’ve now put in place better ways of coping.
It’s an ongoing struggle for me to hold at bay the twin urges for flight and food at such moments.
Here are 3 strategies I’ve found to be helpful for those times:
1) When I feel that flutter of anxiety, I take a slight flight. If my Lizard Brain thinks that I’m in danger, as ridiculous as the idea that following through or achieving success might be dangerous, then it wants me to flee. If I let my body have just a slight flight, I can ease my nerves. You’d be surprised at the ease that can be gained from merely walking to the window. The resident Lizard Brain is soothed.
2) While taking that slight flight, I also count to 19. Counting slows my breathing and focuses me. Plus, the counting reinforces the notion that this is only a slight flight, and I’ll return to my chair when I reach 19.
3) Since the urge to eat is just a variation on the urge to flee, I also delay eating by taking the slight flight and counting to 19. Putting off eating as an antidote to anxiety is crucial, as is the need to keep cookies and Fun-Sized Snickers and other such stuff out of my sight (and out of my house).
It’s important for me not to use food to dull the anxiety.
Escaping or eating to feel better temporarily is self-sabotaging. It gets me off track. It’s a time thief. And it makes me question my abilities and strengths.
What my writing requires from me is perseverance, sticking with it when it’s going well or not so well. And it’s my job to call on my character strengths and to leverage those strengths to make it easier to persevere.
What does it take to be successful in my writing?
Perseverance, discipline, determination, mental toughness, and, most of all, courage.
How about you? What will it take for you to be successful?
I’d love to hear from you about this.
Until next time!
NancyNancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach ancy @ nancywhichard.com http://www.nancywhichard.com