I began posting links to articles and resources on this topic because when I launched my blog back in 2011, I received a virtual flood of questions requesting advice about preparing oneself to write, how to focus attention and reduce stress. I decided to devote more attention to responding.
Resources That Have Helped Me
- 60minutes2relax on YouTube
- About.com, “How Can I Clear My Mind?”
- American Heart Association, “Four Ways to Deal with Stress”
- Chris Bailey for A Life of Productivity, “The Top 10 Lessons I Learned From a Year of Productivity” (May 1, 2015)
- Lisa Evans for Fast Company, “How Working Late is Harming Your Brain” (April 29, 2014)
- Fast Company, #Unplug
- Heidi Grant Halverson for Harvard Business Review, “Nine Ways Successful People Defeat Stress” (December, 2012)
- Health News on Fox and the program, “Sunday Housecall” (one of my favorite programs; I sometimes watch while on the Stairmaster at the gym on Sunday afternoons)
- Inc. Magazine, “10 Easy Ways to Get More Done”
- Mayo Clinic, “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress”
- Mindful Muscle – Mindfulness Changes Everything
- Music – for me, listening to music while working – especially classical music (but also soothing electronic and new age music) – helps me relax and write. I have been using TuneIn to listen to radio programming globally (on both my laptop and iPhone). See also HelpGuide.org, “12 Ways to Reduce Stress With Music.”
- Pick the Brain: Grow Yourself, “7 Simple Ways to Clear Your Mind”
- Stop Breathe & Think app (suggested by friend Beth Reese of Yoginos: Yoga for Youth)
- Tiny Buddha, “30 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You’re Feeling Down”
- Randi Zuckerberg, “Dot Complicated: Untangling our Wired Lives” (click to read my review of the book).
More Specifically …
- A regular schedule of exercise is essential – in my case, I visit a gym at least 3 times a week – as is the occasional walk.
- Healthy eating makes a difference. I prepare most meals at home, although I admit I enjoy eating out on occasion. And, I shop at grocery stores that feature healthy foods. The quality of what I eat matters. I attribute my good health to this today.
- Adequate rest is essential. If I can swing the occasional, brief nap, that helps me stay on top of my game. I have a longer sleep cycle than most, but I did not pay attention to it until the past five years or so. Now that I know what being rested really feels like, I will never forget. And, I do not stay up late (not very often, in any case).
Yikes! Check out this infographic from Mind Body Green, “This is Your Body Without Sleep” (2014).
When computers first came into widespread use (1980s and 1990s), one entered a lot of data into them to set up a “mail merge,” as it was called, you had to leave your computer alone – often overnight – and return to it in the morning before the task of sorting was completed.
Computers are much faster today, but “mail merge” is a phrase I sometimes use to describe what happens when I head off to rest. In the morning, I think more clearly and I am ready to think and write! When I sleep, I realize I am sorting out a great deal of information that I’ve absorbed during the day. In the morning, my attitude is improved and I can tackle almost any challenge.