The term “mental fitness” has been around for a while. Mental fitness is designed to help develop resistance to depression, anxiety, and PTSD. A second benefit of mental fitness is that is helps develop resilience. Resilience is the positive capacity to withstand stressors and cope with trauma.
There can be no denying that there is a powerful connection between the mind, brain, body, and fingers. Here are five quick tips for maintaining mental fitness for writers.
- Focus on positive emotions. As Christian writers one of the traits of our work should be founded in is hope. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues for writers. A benefit of focusing on positive emotions and having a faith-based worldview is that it keeps depression and the blues at bay. Learning to develop positive emotions not only pushes back depression, but helps you feel more creative and inspired.
- Actively engage with others, particularly in positive relationships. Creative individuals who enjoy the solitude of the creative process can slip into weirdness if they fail to find ways to intentionally engage.
- Keep your eyes on the dreams, purposes, and goals the Lord has given you. This keeps the inspiration and the imagination on the upswing and helps you resist the dreaded writer’s block.
- Sleep. Dr. Oz recommends 7-8 hours a night. If you are working, you tend to get your writing done in the “nooks and crannies” of your day. Some of us tend to develop our craft in the evening when the rest of the house is tucked in. Insomnia is a common theme among writers, who might have issues falling asleep or who stay up too late writing. (That would be me.) Sleep is important. It keeps the mind-brain connection sharp and focused and keeps the body’s metabolism working well and fighting off illness and fatigue.
- Give yourself a high five from time to time. Praise yourself. When I say praise yourself, I do not mean in some arrogant, lofty manner. God made you in His image, and part of that image is that you are creative. Taking a few moments to reflect on accomplishments and practicing self-affirmation can improve your attitude and outlook and give you something else to thank the Lord for. Even those small accomplishments like a positive comment from an editor, completing a chapter, or a note from a reader are worth a pat on the back.
May the Lord richly bless you as you increase your mental fitness.
© 2012 John H. Thurman Jr.
John Thurman is a unique counselor who combines real life principles and practical insight to help people learn how to overcome obstacles and set backs they may have experienced in their personal lives, relationships and businesses. He is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Marriage and Family Educator, Speaker and Writer. You can find him online at http://www.johnthurman.net.
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