Tuesday, November 28, 2006


A friend of mine made a post elsewhere asking what others do to relieve stress. Here's my answer to his question --

I think the first step towards dealing with stress is accepting its reality and accepting the knowledge that it will grow the older you get and the more responsibilities and freedom you get. The same applies when particularly stressful times arise. For example this next 12 months for us is going to be a time of very high stress and nearly zero 'play time'. We have to accept that and realize that once the goals get met then the stress will start to ebb and time will free up for a bit. Without that acceptance the time of stress seems like an infinite black hole and that only compounds the stress.

I used to write to de-stress. Although I still love writing and couldn't live without doing it...once you add in those deadlines and it becomes a career instead of relaxation or 'experiment' time the ball game changes. Writing still works, to a limited degree, to vent -- particularly the articles I write for the blogs. Or those wonderful, choice moments when the story is flowing so well and it's so vivid that deadlines, commitments and marketing fade to nothingness.

Another thing that works well for me with stress is using that negative energy like I use the negative energy of anger -- aim it at positive goals. I ran into 3 really mean book store owners last week that were so rude they left me staring at the phone with that "wow. When's the last time they had a BM?" look. It took my stress level from already high to sky rocketing. I had to be in this area at this particular time and all the owners were treating me like some form of flesh eating bacteria. I turned the stress into anger and aimed it at the problem. Researched the area more found other stores, fired my proposals at them and landed 3 more signings. To the other peeps I say... :foff

If the stress comes from lack of time I find that stepping back from activities helps. Cut out any unnecessary things to free up time to work on what you need done. Trips are nice. Gaming is nice. Hanging out is nice. Visiting is nice. Partying is nice. Goofing off is nice. Playing games is nice. But if they aren't necessary to your goal then cut them for a while and see how much time that frees up for you to accomplish your goal. Once your goal is met and the stress is off then pick them back up as seen fit.

Sometimes all that's needed is a bit of blow off time. This is usually the case when you've been working on something for so long your brain is mush, you feel like the blob and you can't decipher the ground from the sky. In those cases I set up a limited amount of time to just 'blow off'. This is time you just wantonly waste on brainless movies, video games or whatever it is you want to do. But do note the 'limited'. The idea is to blow off enough stress and relax enough to get back to obtaining your goal. Any more than that and you can go backwards in your goal which again compounds stress. As well as guilt for not getting done what was needed or promised.

Anyway, those are the primary modes I use to destress and get back on track. And using them helps to keep me from being a danger to others :D

About the Author -

Raven Bower is the author of the upcoming Horror novel, Apparitions (ArcheBooks April 2007)

Apparitions Blog

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Blogger Markus Niemi said...

Ah yes. Stress... The great demon of our time.

Now, being something of a busybody and workaholic by nature, stress is something I'm fairly used to dealing with by now. I'm always doing something and have have some project cooking or stewing (or boiling over...) somewhere; in fact, it's far more easier for me to constantly doing something than to just kick back and relax.

When people hear about that, I'm most often asked the same question first: "How can you deal with the stress and find the time to do that all?"

Simple - doing something as radical as doing the work. Worrying about things only gives one a headache and an ultzer - so I schedule, makes lists, set the works in order of priority and urgency and then get crackin'. I focus on the work until I reach a set goal, then take a little time to unwind and re-charge and proceed on to the next goal.

Though admittedly, even this method fails at times, and I get stressed over having too much work to do or not having enough time. Then I fall on my plan B - I turn the stress to anger and with sheer spite and attitude of 'this X ain't going get the best of me', I charge on like a barbarian horde until the work is done. And then I usually have to go a few rounds with a punching bag or similar to get rid of the anger... But it does work, for me at least.

So in essence, my tools for slaying this demon called stress are - focus, transforming stress into more productive feelings, a bit of creative lunacy and whole lot of bad attitude.

Wed Nov 29, 11:07:00 PM  
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