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Writing – The Mind/Body Connection

Last night I had the pleasure of attending parents’ night at my daughter’s school. It’s my annual chance to follow my daughter’s class schedule to undergo a condensed version of her day. I started out in her homeroom and then walked around the school going to all nine of her classes.

At the end of the condensed school day, I took stock and noticed something pretty interesting. It appeared that the most motivating, exciting, energetic and inspirational teachers were the ones who appeared to be in good physical shape. Well, let me rephrase that, they seemed to be fit.

I also noticed that the teachers who taught by punishment, low expectation and harsh grading were on the opposite end of the fitness spectrum. These teachers had obviously neglected their health. They couldn’t stand for too long, they were out of breath, sweating profusely and had an overall appearance of poor health (I’m not saying that all out of shape teachers are impatient, I’m just making an observation of what I saw last night).

Frankly, I thought it odd when my daughter came home from school the first week and told me how much she now loves Social Studies (a subject that she previously hated) and math was a drag (a subject that she had always loved). After meeting her teachers, I understood why. Her Social Studies teacher is an inspirational motivational force and her math teacher, well, she’s not.

What Does This Have to Do with Freelance Writing?

Freelance writers have ample opportunity to become extremely out of shape. We spend untold hours hunched Writing Postureover a computer, staring at a screen (blinking infrequently), sitting on our rumps, nibbling and drinking who knows what. If we don’t watch it we can become very round and unhealthy. We get tons of mental exercise and our fingers are probably in great shape, but what about the rest of our bodies.

Mind-Body Connection

When was the last time you had all cylinders of your creative juice engine firing? I don’t know about you, but after a few days of too much eating and not enough moving, such as I do around Thanksgiving, I have a real hard time getting my creative juices to flow. When I’m sluggish, full, bloated and generally uncomfortable (because I ate too much and my pants are too tight), I have a difficult time coming up with much of anything (except the desire to take a nap).

On the other hand, when I’m in the ‘zone,’ it’s a lot different. Once I’ve recovered from my eat fest, spent a few days getting back in shape and cleaning up my diet, I find that ideas start to flow. Just going for a long walk does wonders for my creativity.

Working Smarter not Harder

When creative juices don’t flow, I’ve got to work hard to come up with article ideas and work even harder writing the article. When I’m in the zone, ideas flow, words arrange themselves effortlessly and I can do a week’s worth of work in a couple of hours. My daughter’s teachers, by example, have taught me quite a bit on howRunner to get the most out of my freelance writing.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I think it’s worth repeating. We need to make time to take care of our health. What fun is earning a bunch of money in residual income each month if we can’t enjoy it?

I don’t know about you, but I’m putting on my sneakers and going for a walk (I’d say I’m going for a run, but there’s very little difference between my running speed and my walking speed). 😀

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Deanna September 24, 2009, 12:30 pm

    Hi Felicia,
    It is interesting how you noticed the differences between the teachers’ health and their teaching style. When I think back to my childrens’ teachers throughout the years, the profile does seem to fit. As for sitting all day writing – it can add on the pounds. Not good considering most of my articles are about health! I break up the day by walking 2-3 miles a day with my dog. We walk fast, too. 🙂
    Happy walking!
    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Xomba: Writing and Social Bookmarking Site =-.

  • Wendy September 24, 2009, 3:23 pm

    Hey Felicia!

    Perfect timing! Tuesday night I just attended my first adult gymnastics class…and I am literally *bursting* with excess energy : ) *and* I am much more positive in general.

    You are so right! Thanks for the boost…my second class is tonight and I was already kind of thinking how silly it is that I am doing this : )

    Wendy…who is slowly starting to listen to your advice…
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Welcome! =-.

  • Grandma September 24, 2009, 4:39 pm

    It would correlate with better eating habits. I can feel it in my body when I eat the right foods. I feel so much more energy, and positive feelings. If the out of shape teachers are not eating right, they would probably be crabby, angry, and nasty. The sad thing is that they probably do not even know it. This sounds like a good thing to get on Dr. Phil or Oprah so people would talk about it more!

    When a person eats right and feels good, there is more positive energy and creativity.

    • Felicia September 24, 2009, 5:26 pm

      You’re so right. We are what we eat.

  • Elizabeth September 25, 2009, 11:12 am

    Hey Felicia,

    As a previous teacher, I can relate. Teaching can be exhausting and if you’re not fit and in love with the act of teaching, you won’t last long. I was a good teacher, but I could see myself quickly fading if I taught for much longer. For that matter, it’s a good thing I got out when I did.

    I would say there is also a reverse connection to your theory as well. When I was teaching, I wasn’t really happy and I ended up gaining weight and feeling sluggish. I would get home, eat and pass out.

    Now that I am pursuing something I love to do, I find that I can work for 12 hours a day and still want to wake up and work 12 more hours the next day. I also have noticed my hunger has dramatically decreased. I’m sure this is because I’m not fulfilling my emotional needs with food anymore.

    I think that we have to nurture both our physical and emotional needs to find true balance. An emotionally stable person will be able to control their diet better and a physically healthy person will be able to focus their mental energy more effectively.

    You are so right though. We must take care of our bodies so that they can take care of us. Thanks for the great insights and have a great weekend. . . hopefully with a few enjoyable walks outside:D.

    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..14 Articles in 14 Days: Working the Writing Muscles =-.

    • Felicia September 25, 2009, 11:37 am

      Great point. You’re right it does work the opposite way around. Kinda wish my daughter’s teachers had your insight. 🙂

  • Mom @ momportunity.com September 25, 2009, 3:45 pm

    Felicia — Yes! After working online for a few years, I started to realize that –while the freedom of being my own boss and working from home feels great– *I* didn’t feel so great. Forty is creeping up on my (I’ll be 40 on November 20). There’s absolutely no excuse for me to chain myself to my desk with no exercise. I’m my own boss, dangit! 😉 So for the past month, as soon as I drop my kids off at school, I open my front door, grab one of my dogs, and take a walk for 45 minutes. Not only does it make me feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually, but the walk serves as my “morning meeting with myself.” As I walk, ideas (for articles, posts, ebooks) just flow to me. It’s like the Universe is thanking me for taking care of myself, and paying me with ideas. 🙂
    .-= Mom @ momportunity.com´s last blog ..Avon Calling … You! =-.

  • Lissie September 28, 2009, 12:29 am

    Tell me about it – I have been hibernating a bit over winter – but now that spring finally showed up in Perth I am hoping to get swimming again soon – being able to go to the beach in the middle of the day is my raison d’etre for working online !

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