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How Learning Guitar Positively Affects Well-being

How Learning Guitar Positively Affects Well-being

There are a multitude of reasons to learn guitar, aside the obvious burning desire to be heard and admired for a skill that seems so out of reach for most people. We don’t all crave to play guitar night after night to a crowd of adoring fans screaming our name; some of us want to learn to play for another reason.

Guitar offers a creative outlet with an endless stream of new things to learn, which in turn carves out your unique sound. If you are not known for being the most vocal person in your circle of friends, then perhaps guitar is your megaphone, and your way of speaking a thousand words with just a handful of notes.

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    So how does learning guitar affect your state of well-being?

    Learning guitar is often cited as a form of relaxation for many people because of the therapeutic nature of the instrument. When you learn guitar you can allow yourself to fully focus on one thing, and have a mini escape from the pressures of your everyday life. When you look at one of the most popular demographics of people learning guitar, you find that it is men over 40 who work full-time. These are people who are looking for a break from their job, and a little bit of alone time from their family. These are also people who are looking for a nostalgic experience as they work towards playing their favourite song from Rush, The Rolling Stones, or The Sex Pistols.

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    It’s all about reward

    General well-being is heavily controlled by the reward we are given for the time we spend on something. When you spend just 20 minutes absorbed in learning one riff that takes you back to a place in your mind, you are likely going to feel a sense of achievement when you put the guitar down. This same sense of reward is experienced by gym-goers who are slowly working towards the body of their dreams.

    Taking up a hobby such as the guitar can have a profound impact on your confidence, which can make big changes in your personal life. We have all seen the comical scenes in movies where an unconfident and “unpopular” kid suddenly becomes cool by playing guitar. Okay, so movies do make it all look like magic, but the reality is that gradually, as you become more and more confident as a guitar player, you’ll be more confident in your day-to-day life, which is how your well-being starts to benefit.

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    In my opinion, personal well-being starts to suffer when we spend too much time on something that offers nothing more than a financial reward. Most of the time, however, it is not realistic for someone to quit their financially-rewarding job to spend their time immersed in riffs and solos. Fortunately, learning guitar doesn’t mean that you need to spend 10 hours a day in a dark room with a music stand and a slowly dwindling list of friends. Just 20 minutes every day is enough time to both improve and experience a sense of achievement.

    Confidence and Influence

    One of the best incentives for someone learning guitar is to promise a friend that you will teach them to play in the near future. Every day when you find yourself with 20 minutes alone to practice guitar, you can have one clear goal: to be able to share this knowledge with your friend. This changes your confidence on the instrument massively, as you are now the influencer. This also works really well when someone works towards teaching guitar part-time alongside their full-time job. The guitar player then gets financial reward with a high sense of achievement, with the added bonus that they reenforce everything that they learn in their own time.

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    If you have been searching for that mini escape from your day to day pressures then maybe you should learn guitar today.

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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