Nervousness, stress and mental health

    Which mechanisms promote poor mental health?

    No matter what challenges we meet in life, our brains prepare to meet them by activating various narratives about the outcome. If the challenge is something that I feel is especially important for my future, my self-image will almost surely be affected. In our daily lives, there are many situations where what we do defines our sense of self. How well I meet a challenge can be the equivalent of how well I like myself or believe others like me. This is when anxiety and worry can easily increase.

    Various strategies for managing mental health

    How does one meet the challenges of daily life in a less dramatic way that supports a positive self-image?

    It is apparent to those of us at Artist- och Musikerhälsan that the body and mind constantly influence each other. This means that if I can settle into a more relaxed way of breathing well, it will help my brain handle the various challenges in my life. This is why relaxation exercises, yoga and meditation, as well as physiotherapy’s work with basic body knowledge, are excellent tools for creating and maintaining well-being.

    When the pressure of performance triggers worry and stress, one should try to identify the thoughts that arise around a performance situation. Is the challenge realistic? If you will truly give it your all, can you accept that the result may not be absolutely perfect? Otherwise your brain’s focus will be on the fear of not succeeding as well in public, as in the practice room.

    Maintaining the attitude of curiosity can relieve performance stress. In this state of mind, you have a good feeling and the will to do your best, but in fact know you cannot fully control the outcome. This is a way of knowing you can accept imperfect results without putting yourself down. After a stage performance, have a conversation with others about what you would change for the next time. It is important to be able to dare consider how you want to develop your musicianship. This kind of discussion is central to being able to focus on what you do well. It is a way of building self-confidence.

    Another important way of handling stress and anxiety is to discover areas in your life where you do not need to do well, but can just take it easy. During these times you can refresh your energy and even increase your enjoyment of life in general. Finding time to be playful enhances well-being in many ways.

    Sometimes we have behavioral patterns in our lives that we repeat in various situations. These may include a harsh and strict disciplinary way of thinking. Discovering the way to hold a more positive attitude toward one’s self can reveal new personal challenges and ways of having fun.
    Karin Engquist, physician and KBT-therapist

    Karin Engquist och Ing-Marie Olsson
    Artist- & Musikerhälsan
    Östra Rönneholmsvägen 9B
    211 47 Malmö
    Phone: +46 (0)708 670 647

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