As I write this, a pandemic is sweeping across the planet. There are protests and riots on the news every day. In my young eyes, the world seems more tense and uncertain than ever before.
To be honest, I struggle to understand what is going on. I’m still in shock that half of my second semester was on zoom. Sometimes it just seems like everything happening in the world is too much to take in.
I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this feeling. Even when the threat of Covid-19 fades and we enter into the new normal, there will still be times where stress and pain overwhelm us.
Hard times are nothing new to this world. Everyday life is full of financial insecurities, loved one’s passing away, and relationship struggles. The stress and pain brought on by events like these can sometimes be overwhelming.
I know when my girlfriend recently broke up with me I felt completely overwhelmed with raw emotion. The stress of trying to understand what exactly went wrong between us made it hard to concentrate on anything.
It was during my process of trying to get over this breakup that I discovered just how powerful a tool writing really is as an escape.
Your Novel Will Absorb You
When I tell some people that writing is a great way to cope with the overwhelming stress they are skeptical.
Writing can seem like the most stressful thing in the world at times. How could it possibly relieve someone’s stress and pain?
The beautiful thing about writing is that it takes all of your concentration. When you are writing there is nothing but you, the page, and your thoughts. Everything happening in the world around you seems to disappear. The restless thoughts inside your head are temporarily lost.
It isn’t like watching tv where your eyes are on one thing and your mind is on another. When you are writing, your mind is thinking about what you are writing.
The amazing part is your mind seems to know you need a distraction. While it may be difficult to bring yourself to write during a tough time, it is times like these where I find it harder than ever to stop writing once I start.
I’ve found that when I’m really overwhelmed and my head begins to spin I find it easier to zone in on my book and write. Writing becomes that sense of peace I couldn’t seem to find anywhere else. It is the only thing I want to do because while I’m writing everything seems simpler.
When the world and everything going on in your life begins to seem like too much to handle, there is nothing better to do but put everything aside and focus on one thing. That thing can be writing.
The best part of this is that in addition to relief to all the stress and pain in your life, your word count will go way up. When you constantly use writing as a distraction from your struggles you are putting a lot more hours into writing than usual.
This increase in wordcount can serve as a little morale boost. This is important when everything else in the world around you seems to be kicking you down.
A World You Can Control
With everything going on in the world today the most stressful thought is just how little you control. While there are organizations you can donate to and calls to action you can repost on social media, at the end of the day there are so many things that are completely out of your hands.
This includes relationships. No matter what you say or do you can’t control how someone else feels. This can be a painful concept to grasp and it could lead many people to feel helpless.
Writing is one of the best remedies to these tough feelings.
While I am not saying to cut yourself off from the real world if you feel overwhelmed writing is a great way to escape from it. The magical part about escaping into the fictional world you’ve created is that you have all the control you could ever want.
No matter how realistic or outlandish your fictional world is, the point is it is your world. You get all the say on what happens. This is an empowering feeling that can negate the helpless feelings many people experience from time to time.
Because you control your fictional world it is the perfect escape when real life seems to become too much to handle. It is the best place to avoid the thoughts that stress you out and cause you pain because you alone are in control of the ideas that make it into your novel.
Sometimes in tough times the world you’ve created is the only place you can relax.
With all the control, your writing also serves as a place where you can explore your own thoughts. Even though you are using your writing as a distraction, some of the elements of your life that were swarming your mind may seep into the page.
In a tough situation, writing can serve as the soul searching you need to do to find some peace without actively reflecting whatever is causing so much stress and pain in your life.
A Healthy Coping Mechanism
I will be the first person to admit that I do not have the best habits when it comes to dealing with stress.
The truth is there are a lot of unhealthy ways people deal with stress and pain. I am no stranger to stress eating or angry outburst when things become too much for me to handle. These are both destructive habits and no way to cope with the tough parts of life.
I know I am not the only person that deals with stress and pain in a negative way. My issues are also not the only negative habits that can come from stress and pain. Addiction and isolation are two other coping mechanisms that can lead to nothing but problems
For me, turning to write as a coping mechanism has been a game-changer. It is a positive outlet when so many negative alternatives surround me.
If you find yourself leaning on negative habits as a crutch when stress and emotion overwhelm you then writing is a great alternative coping mechanism. I highly recommend you try it.
The beauty of writing is while negative habits dig you deeper into a hole, writing can serve as a stepping stool to help you pull yourself out of it.
I know when life gets tough the last thing you want to do is write.
You just want to close your eyes and wish the pain and stress away. The thing is, unfortunately, it does not work like that. Believe me, I wish it did.
When life overwhelms you and your head feels like it is constantly spinning you need a distraction. There is no distraction more healthy or productive than writing.
If you are in need of an escape from the real world, I urge you to give writing through hardship a try.
It is tough to bring yourself to start writing, but the moment words start flowing from your fingertips you feel better. I promise you that. It worked wonders for me.
Have you ever tried to use writing as a coping mechanism in the past?