As a creative, you are your own worst critic. Even aside from within the artist space, the pressure our industry places on all of us is enough to make anyone question their worth. This negative thinking pattern can be hard to escape from once you start, and it can be debilitating for not only your creative flow, but your mental health as a whole. And to tell you a secret… your anxiety is lying to you. Your negative thoughts do not define you! If you find yourself stuck in a negative rut, here are some ways to get yourself back on your feet…
How To Reframe Negative Thinking Patterns
Reshape Your Thinking
Sometimes all you need is a new point of view. Let’s say you keep thinking down on yourself, like you can’t do anything right. Reshape that negative thought into, “Yeah I messed up, but who doesn’t?” or “That may not have gone my way, but now I know how to be better next time.”
There may not be a way to fully halt your intrusive thoughts, but you can learn how to assess and reshape them into something more positive.
Prove Yourself Wrong
Actions speak louder than words! If you can’t stop thinking that you’re not talented, look at all the killer work you’ve done so far. Look at the fans who follow your progress and stream your tracks every day. You haven’t come this far just to come this far. You’ve shown time and time again that you and your work mean something to someone, so why are you bullying yourself?
At the end of the day, you aren’t alone. It’s very common for us to stress about things that haven’t even happened yet. Things may or may not go your way in the future, but don’t let that stop you from believing in yourself today.
Studies have shown that 85% of what we worry about never happens at all, and in the 15% of times where worries came true, 79% of people handled the difficulty better than expected or learned a valuable lesson.
Separate The Negative Thoughts From Reality
We all do it. We all get lost in our heads sometimes. We dwell on the things we’ve done wrong and let those missteps sway us from trying in the future. It makes sense that our first response is typically to find a way to avoid anything that could possibly trigger ourselves to feel this way again, so we shut ourselves off from new experiences, get lost in the “what ifs”, and become hostage to self doubt. All this makes it harder and harder to differentiate between which thoughts are real and which are projected insecurities, intrusive thoughts, and negative thinking.
The key to really implementing healthier thought processes is to learn to separate the negative thoughts from reality, and move forth with the confidence to try again. The next time you have a thought that tells you you aren’t enough, take it by the horns, really assess it, and hold it separate from yourself. Is that thought really true? Of course not! Remind yourself that you are, in fact, more than enough. Take control of that thought, and push it aside. By practicing this, you can learn to keep the good stuff and cast out the bad whenever it arises.
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Pause & Be Here Now
Take a moment to notice the difference between being stuck in your thoughts and experiencing the present moment. Take note of your five senses, and notice what you have been up to in your mind. Were you arguing with yourself? Struggling with disproving negative evaluations? Criticizing yourself and your work?
Ask yourself whether this mental struggle is serving you well. What do you have to gain from beating yourself down? Be here now, and enjoy the moment. Everything will work out as it should, and you will be okay.
Learn To Meditate
No matter how big or small, meditation is a healthy, effective (and often overlooked), way to balance your thoughts and work through them accordingly.
Meditation forces you to sit down, close your eyes, and take the moment to recognize that what you’re feeling is normal and okay. It gives you a chance to relax your mind and take note of exactly what it is that’s causing you to feel this way. Once you accept this feeling, you can grab a hold of it, assess what you can do about it, and move past it and forward with an actionable plan.
- Sit comfortably with the best posture you can manage. (Try sitting on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed.)
- Breathe in through your nose for four counts. (You should count at approximately one beat per second. If you have a metronome handy, use it!)
- Hold that deep breath in your lungs for four counts.
- Exhale through your mouth for four counts.
- Hold with your lungs empty for four counts.
Used by some of our staff here at Symphonic, Meditation Oak is a great meditation app for beginners and veterans alike. Yes, meditation can be challenging, but stick with it. As little as 10 minutes a day can work wonders.
Remember that you are not alone! We all could use a helping hand. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family when you’re having a tough time. No matter how big or small your issue, nothing is too small to talk about. Life is f*****g hard, but it’s not as hard when we go through it together.
Through de-stigmatizing the way we talk about mental health, we reassure those suffering from it that they can feel comfortable asking for help when they need it. Everyone should have the resources to reach out without judgement and move forward with confidence.
Never be afraid to ask for help. If you need it, we’re here to give it. // To access some of our favorite mental health resources for musicians, click here.
You got this!