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My work on overcoming blocks with a wide range of academic writers has convinced me, however, of the power of a few simple strategies to significantly decrease anxiety.
It is preventing you from doing the things you want to do.
Paradoxically, writing about it can unleash your potential and connect you to humanity. When you put your fears to paper, you get some space from them.
Creating distance from what’s holding you back usually reveals that’s it not as scary as you thought. You start to notice some of the steps you can take to resolve it. You realize that your fear is misguided and what is scaring you is the emotion that lies underneath.
Writing about your anxiety helps you process that anxiety.
So the next blog in this series explores why writers procrastinate and how to avoid it.
hink of your anxiety like an instruction manual that comes with the water filter that you keep in your fridge. Cortisol was helpful for our ancestors — it could mean the difference between life and death, between an early demise and the opportunity to spawn progeny who would set records for typing speed and Rubik’s Cube solving.
Last but not least, to decrease anxiety, try to balance the life of your mind with the life of your body.
Studies show moderate daily exercise, like walking, improves mood and cognitive function, as well as your cardiovascular health.
Having an hour or two, at least five days a week, of dedicated writing time ultimately will bring you great comfort.
Writing in a routine, habitual way allows you to work with, not against, what I describe in the second blog in this series as “the iterative nature” of the normal writing process.