If you’re stressed, you’re doing it wrong

I’m stressed.
I’m learning to take everything with an attitude of: “What can I do about it?” (Well, most things, anyway).
It’s easy to blame situations and feelings on other people, or on events that seem out of my control. ‘Seem’is the key word there. I believe that no matter what the situation is, there’s always something that can be changed. It may be changing the actual situation, or changing my attitude towards the situation, or a bit of both.
I went for a roadie to visit a friend last weekend. We used to teach at the same school. She passed on some words of wisdom a colleague had said to her: “If you’re stressed,Β  you’re doing it wrong.”
This was said in reference to schoolteachers and teaching, but it applies to anyone, in any career. I’m talking it as a way of changing my automatic stress response. Instead of letting ‘stress mode’ take over, I’m learning to shift my automatic response to: “What do I need to change?”
As I said, I’m stressed. What do I need to change? Right now, I’m dealing with (self-imposed) ideas that I’m not an adult with a real career, nor am I a real writer. While I certainly can’t blame this on any one person or event, my parents were very supportive of an arty career when wanted it, so I guess it’s just a part of middle-class-ish social conditioning that success includes a traditional career, kids, and a white picket fence.
However, the idea isn’t just to get to bottom of my insecurities, but to make a change.
The obvious thing to here is to change my perception. How? One way is to surround myself with people who know that success has many meanings, and lives have different paths. I’m lucky.  A lot of my friends fit into this group.
So what next? 
I need to redefine my definition of what real writer means, and what it means to be an adult; one that isn’t defined by the genre I write in, the method of publishing, acting my age, or marriage & kids. I need a definition that works from me.
Watch this space.
P.S. Any ideas? What does adulthood or writership mean to you?

9 thoughts on “If you’re stressed, you’re doing it wrong

  1. Hi Zee! As artists I believe we all go through struggles like this. Believe me, you’re a writer. Adulthood is overrated! Ha,ha! But seriously, the fact that you’re pondering all of this proves that you’re an adult. πŸ˜€

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  2. A great reflective post, Zee, and addressing issues many of us can identify with. I really like your attitude of looking to see how and where it’s possible to change things either internally or externally. I shall take a leaf from your book!
    On being a writer – I think I reached a point when I decided that as I was writing something serious (to me, anyway) and doing it on a regular basis, therefore I was a writer. When someone asked me what I’d published, I replied, you don’t have to be published to be a writer, you just have to write!

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    1. Thank you, Teagan. It’s been great reading people’s responses, and ways of dealing with similar conundrums.

      I think I’ve let some snooty articles get to me a bit more than I should have let them.

      Thank you xx

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  3. Hey Zee, as you know, I have been seeing a psychologist and we were talking about the “feeling like a fake” thing. I spent 15 years in the same industry, the last three on my own. I often felt like I wasn’t adequate or good at my job, even though my bosses constantly told me i was. I worried att the time that someone would question my qualification. My psychologist told me that everyone feels like that. Everyone at some stage and felt like that, and it is common in perfectionists…
    I am a writer, whether I am published or not. My goal in publishing is to share my stories with the world, not make money out of it, although that would be helpful. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has a different style of telling their story. Let your stories flow honey, you are a writer.
    As for feeling like an adult – I have learned to embrace my inner child and quirkiness and go with it. Who said we had to act mature anyway? If you let your child out and play every now and again, you will be surprised just how much more mature you feel when you come back to serious situations. I liked playing soccer with the younger teens yesterday, it was so much fun, but I had other responsibilities too, and once I finished the game, I went back to being the adult. Allow yourself to live.
    One thing I have learnt lately that is most important – is to be in the moment – mindfulness. Take 5 minutes, just sit and focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and focus on the in breath and the out breath. 5 minutes a day. If you feel stressed. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Your mind will switch from stress to calm because your brain is wondering where the adrenalin went. Then you can start to think more rationally.
    Sorry to have literally written a blog post – but You are a special person, a writer with a tale to tell, and sometimes scared to do that, but take a breath and focus on what is important. You.

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    1. Thank you for literally writing a blog post! I honestly think that no matter what profession I was in I would feel underqualified. It doesn’t help that I’m not ‘one’ thing, either.

      And you’re right. Once you focus on the moment, and you just bring to the table what you’ve got and who you are, it all fits into place, and you can think rationally.

      Thank you xx

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  4. Ah, such a struggle this one, for so many people! Let me tell you – as someone who has the husband, kids, white picket fence – I still don’t feel like an adult some times! And I’ve come to accept that as being okay. I think as long as we refer back to our internal barometers, check in that what we’re doing, how we’re living our lives ties into our values, meets our needs, then it’s all good. We’re all unique, individual, amazing creatures, and our lives should express that πŸ™‚
    Be defined by your actions, which should echo your beliefs.

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