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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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