Previously we’ve touched on strategies for the musician’s lifestyle including ways to meditate, how to get organized, how to stop procrastinating and so much more. Today, we’ll revisit all of these combined on how we can use knowledgeable from each way of life in order to achieve one seemingly very simple task - the quieting of the mind.
Especially for the brain of a musician, one who is constantly dreaming up riffs, music video ideas, noticing lyrical lullabies in everyday conversation and being sure to jot them down for a future writing session - it’s those minds in particular that often have the most trouble quieting themselves and they are typically the ones who need it the most.
We are all grossly overstimulated as a whole of society at this point. If we aren’t watching tv, we’re on our laptops, on FaceTime, writing an email, reading a recipe on our ipads or asking Alexa to dim the lights. We certainly live in a version of the future, whether its the one that those 80’s movies dreamed up or not - we’re here.
Now more than ever we must learn how to control that which seeks to control our thought process, whether it realizes it or not. If we let our minds wander and hop to everything in our vicitinities, it will be jumping hoops all day and all night. It’s crucial that we recognize where we place our energy and focus.
Forbes states “Cognitive behavioral therapy is the gold standard when it comes to reducing negative thoughts,” says clinical psychologist Deborah Serani, author of the book Living With Depression. “It works on two levels—the first is with your thoughts, helping you to identify them, how they're semantically worded, and how they impact your well-being, and finally how to reframe them. The second level looks to shift your behavior to match your newly minted thoughts.”
Embrace organized chaos. Clean your room and you’ll be amazed at how much “visual noise” really does affect and overstimulate the mind. Getting those pesky tasks out of the way. There’s truly something to be said for breaking that curse of procrastination that has seemed to have been looming over you since forever now. Minimizing your distractions and learning to say no are a similar superpower.
If you’re trying to quiet your mind for the purpose of a performance, where you really have no choice but to force it to focus - this is where a mantra can come in handy. “You can use a mantra, repeated when necessary, to take your mind off the racing thoughts. Even one like “Everything will be fine” can be very effective.”
Breathing.and meditation go hand in hand, despite both being very different things. In theory, these should be the simplest, as it’s simply listening to your own thoughts and letting your body be on autopilot, breathing away. Not so fast though. These are often the trickiest tools to control when you really try.
If all else fails, employ the ever so simple shift of light. Dark space sometimes puts a mind that refuses to pause at a grinding halt, as in the dark, there is no new stimuli to take in. For some, the opposite can work as well, while white decor around your house can actually be calming and relaxing for someone who may be stressed out.
Find your secret sauce. Is it exercising, breathing patterns, taking an extra few minutes in the shower to just think and be in a space where nobody can interrupt your thoughts? Once you find out what works for you, it will be easier to revisit this peaceful state each and every time.