This is an intervention

We all think you’re just way too stressed out. Your lifestyle of late nights, long practice sessions, working your ass off just to pay the bills, constant setbacks and spending every spare thought about how to make more of a name for yourself, is doing you more harm than you realise.

We’re here to help….

Stress is the big killer in today’s society. It’s linked to increasing the risk of developing heart disease, depression and even cancer. This is because a stressed person tends to develop many bad health habits such as bad sleeping patterns, smoking, little exercise, poor eating, alcohol/drug abuse, etc. You don’t need a doctor to tell that, that stuff is doing terrible things for you – short term and long term.

On top of the habits that often come with stress, your body is affected chemically too. Hormones are released that disrupt your immune system and inflammatory processes – ie your main defence against the bad stuff. Not to mention impaired learning, memory and brain function.

Stress doesn’t come in just one form either. There are 3 different types of stress that are affecting you:

1. Mental Stress: This is what most people think about when they hear the “s” word. It’s the worry you have for have for next month’s bills, the uncertainty of your next gig, the inability to switch your mind off at night and the frustration you feel when people tell you to give up your dream and get a real job.

2. Physical Stress: The very nature of playing an instrument is an unbalanced and repetitive stress on your physical body. Think about your shoulder constantly dragged down with a strap, you chin squeezed against your shoulder to hold a violin, the awkward angles of your drums. For dancers and other physical performers, you’re constantly pushing the limits of your body’s limitations and performing repetitive movements.

3. Chemical Stress: The most underrated area of all. What you eat affects way more than you think. Everything you put in your mouth has a certain chemical reaction within your body. Put the wrong things in and it will cause your nervous system to become overly sensitive, your digestive system have problems with absorbing nutrients, your circulation to dwindle and your muscle tissue to become sticky and tight.

Ok let’s stop for a second. I could harp on for ages about the dangers of stress, but I think you’re sufficiently freaked out enough to want to do something about it. If not, jump on Google and search “stress and chronic disease” and “dangers of stress”, then come back here to find out how you can start cutting down your mental stress straight away.

Learn to unplug. Not just your amplifier, but unplug your mind from all the pressure that you’re under. Give yourself permission to take time, whether it’s a whole day (best option) or just a few hours, to totally switch off from work, practice and performing.

Look out for tomorrow’s post to learn why ‘free time’ isn’t helping and how to unplug in just three simple steps….

Please leave us a comment if you need to vent some stresses of being a musician.