As I read about the Ennegram I learn more about the way I respond to stress, internal and external. I found it interesting to learn that Fives (which I fall under) tend to act like an unhealthy seven when dealing with stress.
Why is this important to know?
Ah, to know me, as my friends do, you will understand.
See, when I stress -- especially while working on a novel -- I retreat to compulsive doing. Rick, Damion, Christina, Juice -- you guys go ahead and have a good laugh with that one. As a writer, one of the most important things for me to not only realize but also apply: Be still and listen. Also--I am not going to figure out the entire storyline, plot, and Act structure within minutes to hours. The process is a journey.
I am still, however, a babe on the journey of psychological life. During stress I retreat to compulsive doing, enter fantasy realms that further disconnect me from reality, escapism (cards, video games, TV). and manic thought processes that can lead to dangerous/risky behavior. None of what I just described is conducive to writing in any way. A cyclical process of frustration and stress rotates and weeks to months go by before I settle down and write a somewhat coherent paragraph.
This weekend was a battle. Yes it was. Between me, the story, some video game play, and Magic the Gathering. Every time I sat to think on the story, my mind desperately pulled toward those distractions.
While not completely successfully in the good fight, I did find myself Sunday evening having more success. I went to bed without watching YouTube before passing out, and instead thought about the story. Ideas flourished as I woke up and found the story breathing with new life.
So, the lesson...when I feel stressed or overwhelmed, because of how my mind works, I need to meditate, pray, go for walks. I do not need to fall into obsessive compulsions that only prolong my stress.
How about you guys? How do you respond to stress?