Start composing your own music—here's how
There can be many reasons why you reach the limits of your own resilience. Whether it's personal tragedy, the never-ending pandemic, political conflicts and injustices, difficulties in a partnership, in professional life or in a music career—all of this and much more can make us feel mentally overwhelmed.
Do you ever feel like you are no longer up to the challenges of your life or that you may soon reach your limit? Then it is high time to talk more about the topic of resilience. In this article you will find out what it is exactly, how you can strengthen your resilience with music, and why the topic is also so important for those who are not affected.
You may have heard of the term "resilience" before. For those who are unfamiliar with the meaning of the term, here is an explanation: The word originally comes from physics and describes the ability of an elastic material to return to its original shape. In psychological jargon, resilience describes the psychological resistance that helps us to master challenging situations unscathed. Resilience is the ability to survive difficult life situations without lasting impairments.
You can think of your resilience as a threshold or dam that, like a body of water that surrounds you, can keep the challenges of your life away from you. Figuratively speaking, if your resilience is high, it will also protect you from great challenges. If it is low, it can easily be flooded. As a result, you feel at the mercy of your circumstances and suffer from it.
The personal resilience threshold that a person has is not statically fixed, but dynamic. In other words: it is not only dependent on genetic factors and biographical experiences, but can change in the course of your life – both upwards and downwards.
Good news: Yes! Resilience can be learned or expanded. Fortunately, you are not at the mercy of your life, but have the opportunity—also in relation to your resilience—to take responsibility yourself. If you want to learn how you can specifically strengthen your resilience, let's get started.
In the following I will introduce you to the "7 pillars of resilience". This is originally a model by the qualified psychologist Ursula Nuber, which has been developed many times (in this article we are dealing with the version by Dr. Franziska Wiebel). It consists of seven essential core elements that can be strengthened and together result in stable and sustainable resilience. To get the best out of this little online resilience training, grab a pen and paper to take notes. You can also grab your instrument and headphones if you want to do the musical exercises right away.
Acceptance is an attitude that enables you to accept what is without becoming stressed. If you notice that you find it difficult when things don’t go to plan, or cannot be changed yet, you can train your ability to accept. Breathing exercises or exercises from traditional yoga are also good for this.
If you prefer to approach the whole thing musically, I can recommend the following exercise: Grab your headphones and a device and select music that you normally don't like to listen to as much. Listen to a song or two, trying to accept the music for what it is, despite its "flaws." If you practice accepting things without constantly wanting to change them, you train your ability to accept. This will help you to become more relaxed, which will also make itself felt in favor of your resilience.
Bonding refers to your relationships with other people as well as your relationship with yourself. Everyone has a need for contact with others and themselves. Strong bonds support us socially and ensure an authentic exchange with one another. They also strengthen their own resilience. A healthy sense of empathy is one of the core factors for a strong bond.
If you want to strengthen your ability to bond, choose a song (ideally not a purely instrumental one) that touches you emotionally. Listen to it carefully and make a note of what exactly moves you about it. Try to put yourself in the musician's perspective as well as describe the effect the piece has on you. This is how you practice two essential things: sincere listening and empathy—for others and for yourself.
You can tell that you are solution-oriented by not focusing on problems themselves, but being primarily interested in their solutions. This helps keep the focus on what's possible, rather than what doesn't work. For this it is extremely helpful to formulate goals in a very specific "well-formed" way. You can find out exactly how this works in this article.
Is there a musical problem you really want to solve? Or a skill that you really want to learn, improve or develop further? What exactly is it? Formulate your goal well with the help of this article (LINK) and then decide how you can get closer to it, step by step. The smaller the steps, the better! Maybe you can implement the first one within the next 24 hours?
Healthy optimism does not mean that you should sugarcoat your problems. Rather, it is about developing realistic optimism (similar to solution orientation). Also, healthy optimism is about seeing “the good in the bad.” This helps you to actively regulate stress.
If you find yourself in a negative mental spiral, you will quickly develop the feeling that you are not up to challenges or that handling them would be difficult. Practicing gratitude helps to break out of this vicious circle and get back into an optimistic state.
Recall your musical journey so far. Then list at least 15 to 20 things you are grateful for. Don't stop before then! The further you progress with the list, the more comfortable, optimistic and powerful you will feel.
If you can perceive and classify your body's signals well, you ensure a positive and strong relationship with yourself. This way you can react quickly and appropriately to unpleasant things and ensure that you don't feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Find a nice song, press play and listen to it, ideally with headphones. The task now is to feel into your body with your eyes closed and to pay attention. What do the sounds do to you? What bodily sensations (images, thoughts, feelings, memories, and so on) arise? By trying to name them internally, you sharpen your self-awareness and increase your resilience.
Self-reflection is about dealing with your patterns of thinking, feeling and reacting from a kind of meta-perspective. In this way you develop a better understanding of yourself, you can recognize your needs and thus increase your well-being.
Remember an impressive situation in which you made music. This can be a band rehearsal, a solo session, a performance, a studio or video recording or something similar. Then ask yourself the following questions:
Self-efficacy means that you are aware that you can actively influence and change your life yourself. However, the more you get stressed, the easier it is for you to get into a state where you get the passive feeling of not being in control of anything anymore. For this it can be very helpful to work with reminders and anchors to regain the feeling of self-efficacy. If you want to learn more about anchors, check out this article here.
A simple method to regain the feeling of self-efficacy is to make music yourself - in a very conscious and mindful way. After all, you yourself actively create sounds and sound spaces that would not exist without you. Become aware of your possibilities and play with them without overtaxing yourself.
Alternatively: If you like doing something a little more tangible, you can also buy a memory book in which you record appreciative feedback, positive thoughts, and experiences in writing. If you are not feeling so well, all you have to do is leaf through your book and you will immediately receive a huge boost in self-esteem and self-efficacy, guaranteed.
I hope this article has helped you gain a solid understanding of resilience and use the exercises to increase your own resistance. If you still have the feeling that you are not making any progress on your own or that you are not fully able to progress on your own, or if you would like professional support, I, as a coach for musicians, can offer you individual online coaching. With a little help, assistance and expertise, pretty much any problem can be solved. If you are interested, you can find my offer here.
f you would like to read more about coaching for musicians, you will find an overview of all relevant articles here. And if you feel like networking with other musicians in your area, take a look at our mukken portal. Here you can meet like-minded people with whom you can team up for a joint project or even for a band.
Have fun and success in all your projects!
Originally published on May 9, 2022, updated on May 23, 2022