Musicians Feeling stress? Hit the re-set button

Between your creative projects, preparing for performances, teaching, and the latest world disaster in the news, you too may have burnout. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you’re not alone. Here’s help for musicians — how to hit the re-set button.

Let’s press “pause” so you can re-group and re-set . . .


Take a moment now and list what you are grateful for

Take a breath and think — or better yet, say out loud — what specifically you’re grateful for.

For me at this moment, I’m grateful to have this time to think about what ultimately matters and to be writing to you.

I’m also grateful for the recording of the Brahms sextet I heard this morning, the walk I took, and the lemon tea I drank. And I’m grateful for the inspiring conversations I had this week with my clients, the breeze I feel sitting here at the table by the window, and the promise of the day.

As you make your own list, notice how your body feels. You may sense a softening in your chest — a feeling of opening up. If you lean into this feeling you may also have a sense of being connected to something far greater than yourself. Call it wonder, the life force, a higher power, God, or whatever else works for you. It’s this connection to something beyond ourselves that can fuel our work so we can live into our best future.

That exercise: listing what you’re grateful for, and leaning in to the sensation, is the Grateful Flow Tool. Simple but powerful—the Tool reminds us that we have the ability to shift our state of mind from anxious negativity into a place of positive possibility. It gives us the breathing room to then decide how we want to move forward. (For more, read The Tools and Coming Alive by therapists Phil Stutz and Barry Michels).

Watch Woody Allen doing a version of this Tool in Manhattan:

Hit the re-set button regularly

Having a regular daily Gratitude practice can teach you how to consistently bring yourself back to a positive frame of mind so you can take action. By noticing and honoring the specific small miracles each day, a bird sighting, a special memory that came to mind, a kind word from a friend, you become present to your own life and your own agency.

But of course, gratitude by itself won’t magically change your life. It won’t get you more performances or students, and it won’t take away the work you need to do to grow your career. But it CAN shift you out of inertia, fear, or resentment, so you can tip yourself into taking action. The tool gives you a moment of gratefulness, the mental space needed to choose how you will move ahead with your day.


Here’s how the re-set button works

Gratitude can center you in your purpose, your love of music and your love of life. This can shift you out of scarcity thinking into an experience of abundance.

Being grateful reminds us to be human. To park our egos at the curb and be kinder towards ourselves and others. That’s how Gratitude can change how you network, interview, audition, practice, compose, and perform.

This isn’t about minimizing problems or ignoring challenges. It’s about not being a victim to our habitual thought patterns and negative self-talk. You can learn how to manage your thoughts and emotions so you can move ahead toward your goals.

And yes, you have to work at it—to make this a daily habit so you can move forward in the face of discouragement and setbacks.

As a coach, I teach clients mindset tools like Grateful Flow along with the tactics of self-promotion, networking, grant writing and more. That way, they get proven effective solutions for both the mental / emotional side as well as for the practical / material. Because one without the other isn’t enough. Your success needs to be based on a multi-layered approach, inside-out.

If you’re curious about getting expert coaching to help you reach your goals, find the details here.

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Here’s to your journey,

Dream Big, Plan Smart, Live Well

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