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How Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls and Other Artists Deal with Stress

How Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls and Other Artists Deal with Stress

When it is your job to create art and entertainment everyday people, it can be downright stressful at times to push forward. Sometimes pressure comes from the business end, as commercial expectations must be met. Sometimes pressure comes from a deadline or tough timeline. And sometimes pressure comes from within.

Regardless of where that stress comes from, a positive approach is often key to finishing the task at hand. To learn more about how some very creative people stay both positive and productive, I spoke to seven artists on behalf of Lifehack.org.

Robby Takac, Goo Goo Dolls Bassist/Vocalist & Founder Of Music Is Art:

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    I just try to remember that not every idea is the best in its raw form, but most ideas are worth pursuing. If it doesn’t pan out, there’s nothing wrong with just putting it into your memories file and maybe revisiting it later…and if not, at the very least, you have learned how to write something in a way you can avoid ever doing again.

    Lucy Woodward, Singer/Songwriter:

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      Staying positive can be one of the biggest challenges no matter how “positive” of a person you are. I can become the queen of despair when dealing with a difficult person, a rejection or an overwhelming wave of catching up on the daily check-off lists. I have learned that most times — and I emphasize most — that my state of mind is the only thing that can change itself.

      I change little things like eat cleaner (therefore I sleep better), relax a little (have wine and chocolate), hang with people who make me belly laugh deeply. On a deeper level, I stare my “blues” right in the face and ask why it’s taking over my life right now. Once I sit and arm-wrestle it a bit, I create a new relationship with it. But I have authority. It ends up passing through me like the stomach flu.

      Cassandra Seidenfeld, Actress & Philanthropist:

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        Living in New York City can be both stressful and exciting. In a place where it’s critical to stay on top of one’s A-game at all times, health and attitude can be amongst our greatest assets.

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        I live in such a fast-paced environment that requires lots of juggling such as juggling schedules, appointments and time. In the frenzies of balancing life, where time is precious, the best center I’ve found is keeping a positive attitude!

        Keeping a positive attitude enables me to meet the challenges of juggling and balancing my life, because no matter how I get through the day, the way that I get through it makes all the difference. At the end of the day, the quality and effectiveness of it all depends on how I dealt with each moment. In keeping a positive attitude from the start, I try to make every day a great productive day from the moment I awake!

        Keith LuBrant, Composer/Songwriter:

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          For me, when I have a lot of projects in the air, whether it be a work for hire situation or a request by a publisher or music supervisor, I work best with physical lists. I can prioritize and schedule everything and when I complete a project, the feeling of striking an item off the list is like a mental “win.” This “win” propels me to get the next item finished. It sounds pretty obvious, but for me, physical lists work the best.

          Kurt Ralske, Fine Artist:

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            I try to remember that whatever is going on around me is is different from my internal state — I can’t control the world, but I can be responsible for my emotions. “Stress” is a sign that I am not allowing myself to enjoy the process, or that I’ve placed myself into a situation that’s not right for me. A small mental shift — like focusing more on the people around me — can work wonders.

            There’s also the physical side of anxiety, which is only a health issue. It doesn’t effect me if I exercise, sleep well, and eat moderate amounts of good food. I don’t go near stimulants like caffeine; I need the sustained energy of a marathon runner, not a sprinter. Sometimes I use supplements like magnesium and L-theanine for proper sleep.

            Also, putting away all the distractions, whether it be the phone, 895 cable channels (!), or social media. Some people work well with taking these breaks. I find myself down a YouTube rabbit hole looking at guitar shredding. (laughs)

            Marissa Levy Lerer, Musician & Technologist:

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              Art — more specifically, songwriting — is how I de-stress from my “real” life. I can sit down and write a song in 15 minutes, practice that song over and over until it feels right, and then take a deep breath. At the end of that time, I can listen back to what I created and think, “I did that. I made something from nothing. That’s like a superpower. What do I have to be stressed about?”

              I stay positive knowing that those bursts of creativity are inside of me and can come bounding out at any time. I can’t force it but I can have faith that they will come.

              Marina V, Singer/Songwriter:

                Staying positive while stressed or depressed has been a challenge for me all my life. But over time I learned a few good tricks.

                One of the most effective ones is exercise: the influx of positivity during and after working out is like no other. The hardest part is starting the workout — especially when I feel down — but remembering that I’ll be feeling so much better afterwards really helps me get my s**t together.

                Featured photo credit: Yamaha Corporation via youtube.com

                More by this author

                Darren Paltrowitz

                Writer, Editor & Researcher

                The Power of Yoga: How Diamond Dallas Page Keeps Fighting How Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls and Other Artists Deal with Stress

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                Last Updated on October 30, 2019

                How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

                How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

                Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

                In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

                Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

                You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

                What is the Stages of Change Model?

                Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

                Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

                Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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                  The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

                  The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

                  The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

                  The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

                  1. Precontemplation
                  2. Contemplation
                  3. Determination
                  4. Action
                  5. Maintenance
                  6. Termination

                  How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

                  To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

                    Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

                    Stage 1: Precontemplation

                    At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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                    For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

                    Stage 2: Contemplation

                    At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

                    You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

                    The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

                    Stage 3: Preparation

                    At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

                    Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

                    Stage 4: Action

                    When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

                    Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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                    Stage 5: Maintenance

                    After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

                    Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

                    Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

                    Stage 6: Termination

                    Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

                    However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

                    How long does each stage take?

                    You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

                    So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

                    The limitations of this model

                    The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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                    Require the ability to set a realistic goal

                    For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

                    If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

                    Difficult to judge your progress

                    The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

                    Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

                    Conclusion

                    The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

                    While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

                    Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

                    [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
                    [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
                    [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
                    [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
                    [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
                    [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
                    [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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