Mental Stamina For Writers - Part 4: The Power The Body Has Over The Mind

by Jerrico_Usher

The body and the mind actually work in sync and if your body starts to deteriorate, your mind will follow the pattern. Let's talk about the power of the mind over the body...

One thing we often take for granted, even complain about while working in the offline world is all the exercise and hard work we get and do. Although we may not realize it all the moving around, the climbing, the running, the talking to customers, even the disciplinary speeches we got is all exercise that helps the body and mind stay alert, to stay healthy. There is a reason your boss is always on you- productivity.

If your job is not an office job where you barely get up then you were probably getting a moderate amount of exercise on a daily basis. Even getting up for work and rushing through your shower, makeup, breakfast routine, and so on all count as exercise. Walking from your car up to the office, out to lunch, back to the office, and so on. Your constantly moving, thinking, talking, etc...

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Working Online

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Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations

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We start to slowly infect our mental/Physical state

While Working Online...

 

What often happens when you start working at home is you move a lot less, you don't rush to get to work thus that adrenalin rush you used to experience that put a pep in your step is not there. Getting out of bed comfortably and when you feel like it actually robs you of that exercise you used to get.

The mind starts to lose the “I’m late” rush out of bed adrenalin producing mentality and develops a lazier one, this works against you as it incrementally starts to make it harder to get a jump on the work day.

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laziness

The infection of Laziness

You start to take more “wakey wakey” time before starting work and often will feed the body caffeine to wake up because you pulled (another) all nighter. The more you do this the more tolerance you build up for caffeine until one day coffee won’t even wake you up. (If you hit that point try these two articles displaying two new "next generation" energy drinks for writers in mind: (Nerd Energy Drink (caffeine with nootropics) or Brain ToniQ (100% nootropics; smart drugs).

Not leaving the house to go to lunch but instead walking a few steps to the kitchen to make a quick burrito in the microwave is much less exercise and working at home removes the social element in your day.It is far different to talk to your "online" buddies than it is to talk and interact face to face with people. We will discuss the social aspect in another article in this series (2 more pages after this one) but this is part of the mental realm.

What causes most people problems when they go from working offline to working at home is often laziness, lack of discipline, and simply taking too many breaks. This causes you to not move around, not stimulate your mind enough, In The Real World that is, and can cause you to deteriorate mentally and physically.

If either side breaks down it takes the other with it. Can you imagine if everyone at your job had the right to work at their own pace like they were reporters? It would be chaos in most jobs because people would slack off unless and until there was a punishment for their laziness. In the writing world this punishment is self inflicted by your income dropping to uncomfortable levels.

At first the liberation is a nice change but it will become exhausting to your body and subsequently to your mental state when you take that freedom for granted and don't structure your day. It starts to look like this: 

Chaos

All the ambition and self discipline the offline work environment programmed into you becomes un-programmed eventually if you don't maintain it. Just because you move to an online job doesn't mean you lose all sense of logic and reason- USE YOUR TRAINING in discipline from work here too or you'll fail!

One reason many fall into this trap is that their productivity was likely and often based on fear of losing their job so now having to stand on their own two feet they discover that they tend to let themselves go. This causes a plethora of issues that cascade down until your suffering mental anguish and have no idea what the hell happened!

If your feeling less than ambitious after several months, your writing is suffering, your ability to be creative and think innovative-ly, your multitasking starts to suffer, then realize that your doing several things all of which are causing your body to suffer and your mental state as well.

Your mind runs the body but if the body is not well nourished, it becomes inefficient, unable to produce energy; this means other parts of the body have to pull that extra weight and this drains you. With the brain in command the body becomes an overwhelming thing to take care of without the right nutrition, not enough water, vitamins, minerals and so forth.

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The Mind Starts It, The Body Follows It...

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Then The Mind Suffers Because The Body Did It…

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 Once the body starts to run amuck the mind follows because when the body starts to deteriorate the mind has to work a hundred times harder to maintain a balance (homeostasis). Think of the difference between having an office of 100 workers and 80% of them calling in sick and the work load doesn't shift or slow down, in fact it gets heavier.

With all this extra "weight" of stuff to deal with in the body's systems the brain has to take energy from the mental capacity to keep itself going. This makes thinking very hard. Creativity takes a lot of energy. The solution to the mind state being fatigued is in the body. The mind follows the body so if you fix your physical state you will see a miraculous connection to your mental state.

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Working at home is NOT a vacation...

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(Although convenience feels like one)

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The reason at first you did so well is that you were so ambitious, you were in a good balance 

physically and mentally, but as you started working at home and nobody was cracking the whip at you, you simply wanted to enjoy your new freedom.

Many don't snap back into gear after a vacation of a sort and this is the cause for the downfall. How many kids who graduate high school and don't go to college RIGHT AWAY, ever actually end up going at all? Working for yourself requires discipline, for you to crack the whip on yourself.

After a while you get used to it and do it because you enjoy it, but there is a phase between leaving the other mental state of working offline and the new one of working online/for yourself.

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There is nothing wrong with a grace period of enjoying your new found freedom, but there has to be a line drawn, a goal set where you rebuild your whole concept of how you should work.

You need to maintain all the discipline and structuring of your old job but instead deem yourself as the boss.

Imagine they made you the boss where you work now. Would you want productivity and all those things they want from you? 

Sure, but eventually you will go into your position and just do it, you'd maintain the structure of discipline you had as a worker bee but now you have to step it up a notch to see the bigger picture and act on it. 

Give yourself liberties but don't abuse it or you will end up with a back log of problems that will make you wish you were BACK working in the other world.

This is essentially caused by lack of discipline which causes your body to suffer, lack of exercise, lack of proper nutrition, lack of social stimulation and down you go.

You can recoup from this, but it's much easier to avoid this, so if you’re just entering this world take heed to this warning, discipline is not a choice, it's a necessity in working for yourself. It is the difference between earning millions and barely scraping by like you did at the job, all be it with more freedom but more misery comes due to the aforementioned other variables.

Working at home is an amazing opportunity to grow, to earn what your worth, to work more and make more, to work less and make more, much more.

If you don’t “respect” the boundaries of working at home and generate a comfortable but still strict routine that gives you a static work schedule that you can flex at will, you will crash like a house of cards in a windstorm.

Its fine to change your schedule when you need to, but having a schedule to go from is like having your house built on rock not sand. If you have no schedule, no discipline, you have nothing to ground you, nothing to bring you back to reality when things get overwhelming!

Nobody wants to work, not even if that work pays well, but we do it because there are consequences of not doing it. The good life is absolutely not free- it's earned. Granted working offline in your own business give you more freedom, but if you're not a disciplined person it may make things worse.

Laziness will infect your mental state, which will infect your physical state, which will yes, infect your mental state through your physical state. In short what will start out as confusion and frustration (lack of ground) will infect your physical state which will drain your brain and cause your mental state to ground in laziness which will infect your work ethic and in turn your paycheck and in turn your entire life.

Although it feels like a vacation at first you must realize that you’re still working, you’re just changing the limitations into opportunities when you work at home. You must keep yourself in optimal shape physically to maintain being at the top of your game mentally.

Exercise is essential, nutrition is essential, social interaction is essential, WATER is essential, and feeding your mental creativity through exercising your brain is essential as well.

Now that we understand the mind body connection, let’s discuss how to take care of the physical side of the equation.

One of the most abused parts of the work at home equation that kills mental stamina is the body. Neglecting the body can convert your die hard opportunity, success, and easy money career into a house of cards in the middle of a windy area with no walls. That bared repeating.

If you made the mistake thinking that just sitting at the computer doesn't require exercise your mistaken and you will discover just how much after about 4 months of working at home if you neglect the other areas.

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Updated: 12/04/2012, Jerrico_Usher
 
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Jerrico_Usher on 12/04/2012

yep... great book- Dress for success thanks for commenting!

Ragtimelil on 12/04/2012

I find I do much better if I take the time to really get dressed (casually but still neat) instead of throwing on whatever is handy and to eat well.

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