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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 July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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