Stress Management for Writers

September 14, 2010

I have a new creation and creative outlet I want to share with you!   I just started a new blog called Stress Management for Writers.

This isn’t for professionals.   It’s for all of you who have ever felt the need to express yourself to the world.

Finding the courage to reach out to others with your feelings and your own personal message is what it’s all about!


Why crying is a good thing

December 18, 2009

“There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.”   –Washington Irving

Biochemist William Frey has spent 15 years studying tears and why we cry.  His team of scientists have found that, although tear production organs were once thought to be unimportant and no longer necessary for survival, tears actually have numerous critical functions.

Tears are an emotional response which only humans have, for only people are known to weep.  While all animals that live in air produce tears to lubricate their eyes, only human beings possess the extensive system that causes us to cry.

Tears are secreted by your lacrimals—tiny, sponge-like glands which rest above the eye against the eye socket. The average person blinks every two to ten seconds. With every blink, the eyelid carries this fluid over your eye’s surface.

One of the most obvious functions of tears is to lubricate your eyeball and eyelid, but they also prevent dehydration of your various mucous membranes, as anyone with ‘dry eye’ problems can attest to.  A severe lack of lubrication produces a condition requiring medication or therapy to save the victim’s eyesight.

Another important function of tears is that they bathe your eyes in lysozyme, one of the most effective antibacterial and antiviral agents known to man.  Amazingly, lysozyme inactivates 90 to 95 per cent of all bacteria in a mere five to 10 minutes. Without it,  eye infections would be much more common and serious.

One amazing discovery is that tear production may actually aid a person in dealing with emotional problems.  Scientific studies have found that after crying, most people do feel better,  and those that suppress their tears do feel worse.

Not unexpectedly, those who suffer from the inherited disease familial dysautonomia not only cannot cry tears, but also have a lesser ability to deal with stressful events in their lives.

In a recent study, tears caused by simple irritants were compared to those brought on by emotion.  Researchers found that stress-induced tears actually remove toxic substances from the body. Volunteers were led to cry first from watching sad movies, and then from freshly cut onions. The researchers found that the tears from the movies contained far more toxic biological byproducts. Weeping, they concluded, is an excretory process which removes toxic substances that normally build up during emotional stress.

The simple act of crying also reduces the body’s manganese level, a mineral which affects mood and is found in up to 30 times greater concentration in tears than in blood serum. They also found that emotional tears contain 24 per cent higher albumin protein concentration than tears caused by eye irritants.

The researchers concluded that chemicals built up by the body during stress were removed by tears, which actually lowered stress. These include the endorphin leucine-enkephalin, which helps to control pain, and prolactin, a hormone which regulates milk production in mammals.

They found that one of the most important of those compounds which removed tears was adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), one of the best indicators of stress.  Suppressing tears increases stress levels, and contributes to diseases aggravated by stress, such as high blood pressure, heart problems and peptic ulcers.

Ashley Montagu concluded that weeping contributes not only to the health of the individual, but also to the group’s sense of community because ‘it tends to deepen involvement in the welfare of others’. Tears are an extremely effective method of communication, and can elicit sympathy much faster than any other means. They effectively relate that you are sincere about a certain concern, and anxious to deal with the problem.

What can we learn from all this? That the seemingly simple and common response of producing tears is enormously complex and, indeed, is an integral and necessary part of being human.  Without tears, life would be drastically different for humans—in the short run enormously uncomfortable, and in the long run our eyesight could be jeopardized.


Stepping WAY outside of your box!

November 5, 2009

yoga stretch comfort zoneI wish the Oprah Show was always as inspirational as it was yesterday!

She brought on a few women who had been feeling midlife awful, with issues like divorce, single motherhood and job loss.

They were feeling helpless and hopeless, like victims in their own lives.  One women described herself as “paralyzed by fear.”

Oprah gave Ali Wentworth the means to help these women step beyond their own internal limitations.  She introduced them to their new selves.

The women first tried a few rounds of roller derby, then took a sky dive together, and finally disrobed on a beach and ran naked.

You may be thinking “So what!”  If so, go try a few of these challenges and then get back to me.  Stepping outside of your own box changes lives!

How do I know?  Believe me, I know a thing or two about stretching my comfort zone.  I left mine entirely back in 2004, and I’ve been living outside of it ever since!

First I started my own dating service after I lost my job.  I figured I needed a job and a date, so what the heck!  That led to an amazing new relationship.  Falling in love at 49 felt like a gigantic leap of faith!

Since then, I’ve tried out a few different but related careers: writing, public speaking and even writing my first books.

I want to spend my time here on earth doing what I’m best at, and there’s only one way to find out what that is, experiment!  One thing is for sure:  I LOVE living outside of my comfort zone and I’m never going back into my BOX!


Letting go of the old you

November 1, 2009

leap_of_faith blog sizeAs strange as it may seem, it is often difficult to let go of the old you, even when you are loving the new person you have become.

Unfortunately, it is essential to let go of your past in order to allow the new you to blossom.

It can be tough to clear out all those nasty old negative voices in your head that keep insisting you will never be smart enough, attractive enough or good enough.  As much as you want to clear out your own internal clutter, letting go of those old familiar critical voices can be a challenge.

Why?  Because if those voices are indeed wrong, than you have no more excuses for not living up to your full potential.  Before you knew exactly why you did not have the life you wanted, now there is nothing standing in your way.

Still, you have to let go of your old identity for your new one to emerge.  It’s just too uncomfortable standing in two worlds at once.  It’s time to take a leap of faith and embrace everything about this new you!

It’s like when I first met Mike in 2005.  We had started living together and things were great with us.  I knew I needed to sell my old house because I didn’t have any money left, but I was so afraid to commit to my new life with Mike…what if things didn’t work out?  What then?

It was time to take that gigantic leap of faith and make the absolute commitment to my new way of life, with no lifeboat to jump back onto if things didn’t “work out.”  It was time to embrace the new me in this new world Mike and I were co-creating.

It is really no different than taking in your pants after you have lost the weight.  Do you believe in yourself enough to commit to a new lifestyle?  Do you you trust yourself enough to believe in this new future you have created for yourself?


Don’t underestimate the POWER of surrounding yourself with those whom you admire in midlife!

October 25, 2009

When I was first invited to co-author 50 Interviews: Professional Speakers, I wasn’t quite sure.

Did I really want to give THAT much of my own time to interview so many successful speakers, not to mention the hours of transcribing, editing and producing a book?

Now that I’ve interviewed six speakers, I can answer that question with an unequivocal YES!  The inspiration factor is changing my life everyday, not to mention all the amazing tricks and tips I’m learning!

Speaking to those who have started from nothing, as we all do at first, and created exactly the kind of career they had only dreamed of before, is pure genius for those who think they might like to change careers.  There is no better way to learn so much about a different career very quickly!

But more important, talking to those who have been through it before, we can quickly see if this is the kind of life we want to pursue, or at least which aspects appeal to us.  It can show you how likely it is that you will love this new career, and whether you are likely to succeed, when you take into consideration all of your own needs and personality traits.

Then there are the advantages of being older so we can choose from a place of knowing ourselves very well.  After years of learning how to be honest, and embrace our natural talents and tendencies, we may find that we are finally ready be all that we can be!

Find a way to surround yourself with those you think you would like to learn from. It’s a POWERFUL EXPERIENCE!


Finding Your Area of Excellence

October 21, 2009

“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write.  Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”     – Louis L’Amour

Since deciding to become a writer in late 2005, I have met so many wanna be writers, which is silly because, let’s face it, we are ALL writers to some extent.  I loved the quote in Marrying George Clooney when Amy Ferris quips:  “Exactly how does a writer retire?”

But a few courageous or just plain crazy ones of us, decide to try to make a go of it as writers.  This makes sense.  The world NEEDS good writers and a lot more good editors too, judging by the TERRIBLE spelling and grammar on the internet!

The best advice I received when I started writing was to just keep writing! So many of us believe that one is only a “writer” if we are getting published regularly or if we are getting paid for our writing.  I know far too many writers who are getting paid to write annoying commercials and vapid TV shows.  Are they writers?  They are making more than most of us.

In my interview with Cheri Hill this week for our 50 Interviews book on professional speakers, she made a great point about being a brilliant speaker, one which also applies to writing.  Writing and speaking are both skills, they are crafts we can always get better at, with plenty of training and experience.

It is far too easy to assume that the great writers and speakers came to their level of excellence naturally.  They were not born writers or speakers.  They decided to dedicate their lives to growing and changing as their skills improved.

The tough part for most of us is simply finding that skill or trade that we can commit to.  Where should we put all of our belief and energy, because somewhere inside we KNOW that we can excel?  And we also know we need to find our own area of excellence to feel good about ourselves.

Dedicate your life to finding your own area of excellence!  And when you finally find it, don’t let ANYONE tell you you don’t know what you’re doing.

“The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.”    -Chinese proverb



What’s the point of worrying?

October 19, 2009

alfred_e_neumanParade magazine had an article yesterday called:  What Should You Worry About?

I was very surprised and disturbed to find out that a lot of what worries me the most, is highly unlikely to happen.

Here’s a few interesting statistics from the piece:

Elephants kill more people than sharks each year.

75% of murder victims know their assailants; seven out of ten rape victims do too.

When it comes to identity theft, nearly half of ID theft victims are ripped off by someone they know, and 90% of thefts happen offline!

I know many of us seem to be pre-wired to worry, but what a waste of energy!  You’re probably worrying about the wrong thing anyway.  I like this saying when it comes to worry:

Worry is like interest paid in advance, on a debt that may never come due.

The most important information I gleaned from this article is: 

Choose your friends very carefully!