Write Your Way Out of Trouble

When something bad happens in your life or in your business, you have a powerful tool at your fingertips: your ability to write.

Follow this fool-proof method, and watch your stress level decline and your ability to cope grow strong every day.

Step 1 – Give Yourself a 24-48 hour Freak Out Period

When a crisis arrives, the first thing you need to do is give yourself a specific period of time to freak out.  During this time, give yourself permission to cry, whine, and experience your feelings of fear, loss, anger, frustration, or upset fully.

During this time period, be very gentle with yourself.  Cancel or reschedule all business meetings.  Your clients count on your professionalism, so refrain from business activities until you are more centered.  Refrain from any writing projects as you will not be able to create when you are in crisis mode.

Don’t make any serious decisions.  Just wait.  Ask for support from your team, your family, and your friends.  Give yourself comforting foods and nurturing music.  Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.

Sit down with your journal and write about exactly what happened and all the feelings you are experiencing.  Name and experience all your feelings.  It’s even OK to rant a bit.  No one will see this writing, so vent all your feelings.  Research on resilience shows that stuffing or ignoring intense feelings actually increases stress, so the quicker you write out your feelings, the faster you will recover your equilibrium.

Step 2 – Shift From Feeling to Thinking

After your 24-48 hour Freak Out period is over, it’s time to move into a place of power.  Tell yourself that no more self pity is allowed, it’s time to do some planning.  Because you’ve waited until your emotions are calmer, you’ll be ready to think strategically.

Get out some paper and start making lists.  First, list all your assets.  Include your resources of time, money, strong client relationships, assistance from team members, and support from loved ones.  Spend plenty of time making a complete list of everything you can use to cope with this challenge.

Next, list all the issues that require a solution.  Rank them in priority order.  This list making will engage the logical side of your brain and move you from feeling like a victim to feeling in charge of the situation.  Once you can shift into that feeling of empowerment, you are ready to cope successfully with the challenge.

Finally, write out an action plan for each of the issues.  Assign a due date and list who you will be calling on for assistance.  This list can be very simple. It might look like this:

  • Format ezine – Amy by Tuesday
  • Reschedule coaching appointments – Sue by Wednesday
  • Get groceries – Jo by Tuesday
  • Pick up medications – Tina today
  • Call housekeeping service – me by Friday

Once you can look at your written plans, you’ll feel stronger and ready to move forward into action.  When you shift from feeling to thinking, new possibilities open up and your coping skills increase.  It’s almost like magic.

The ability to write about your feelings and your challenges is one of the fringe benefits of being an author.  When you use this process every time you face a challenge, it will soon become second nature and one of your essential coping tools.

Comments 5

  • Just read the post by Moreen Torpy. I’d love the opportunity to connect with her and share what I’ve done. You should have my book right after 01/01.
    Happy holidays to you and those you love,

  • These are fabulous tips, Lynne.

    I find that I instinctively write when in a crisis, although rather than journaling, I tend to post in one of my blogs.

    It took me a year to be able to write cohesively about an experience with severe panic attacks that devastated me and put me out of commission for some time, but once I started writing about it on my blog (and then the series was picked up by a local news organization), I found that it helped so many other people besides just me!

    I should be more strategic in the future, though; I’ll remember your tips.

    • Lisa- Posting on your blog is a great idea, especially if your words can help others.

      I have a family member with panic attacks. They can really be tricky. I’m so glad you are writing about your experience and helping to educate others.


  • I’m so sorry to hear about Larry, and wish him a speedy recovery. Falling off a roof isn’t fun, both for the falee and family!

    Love your writing suggestions in a time of crisis. Years ago, with my hubby dying, I journalled but never thought of planning like you mention. Should I ever be in a situation like that again, I’ll know what to do.

    Maybe I’ll take those journals one day and put them into a book.

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