This article was originally posted by Shannon Kennedy on her foreign language learning blog.

Being a musician can be stressful. Things may not be progressing quickly enough, or no matter how much you practice you still have difficulty with a certain line or part, or maybe you’ve even received less than positive criticism for a recent performance. Regardless of what it may be, each thing can easily add up, and so, learning how to de-stress is important. It keeps you from burning out and helps you find the motivation to continue.

Here are a few methods we suggest to help handle stress. Whilst these methods may work for some musicians, they aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone. It’s worth trying a few different methods to see which one is most effective at reducing your stress. If none of our suggested methods work, there are always other options available. For example, some musicians have benefitted from using weed products, such as these high voltage extracts, to lower their stress levels before now. Apparently, products like that can allow musicians to experience highs, letting them forget about their worries and stress for a while. That might be another method to look into. However, there are so many more methods online, so be sure to research a few different stress-relieving techniques. Bearing in mind if you do land on this type of method, you may want to go online to and see how you can best incorporate it into your life. If you have any ideas or practices that aren’t included in the list, please feel free to add them in the comments! For now, here are our suggestions.

1. Compose/write lyrics. Write about why you are stressed, distract yourself with composition, or compose lyrics about anything else that may inspire you. Getting your thoughts onto paper is a good way to get them out of your system.

2. Do something artistic. Switch mediums for just a moment. Paint a picture. Write poetry. Do whatever comes to mind to take a break from the musical aspects of your creativity.

3. Do something that requires an extreme amount of focus like cooking, cleaning your instrument better than ever, HTML programming or learning a language. By involving yourself in an activity that requires your attention in its entirety, you allow yourself a break from focusing on what might be causing you to stress. It’s always easier to come back to a difficult situation with a fresh outlook.

4. Listen to your favorite music. Music psychologists have conducted studies on the way music affects our moods and ways of performing different tasks. Music has been scientifically proven to make stressful or mundane tasks pass more enjoyably, as well as aiding us to relax and feel “better.” Find music that relaxes you (and, if it’s legal where you are, you could always combine a good listening session with a product from somewhere like this Canada Cannabis Dispensary for some serious relaxation).

5. Yoga and breathing exercises. Before lessons, one of my saxophone teachers required that I stretched (and now I encourage my students to do the same). It is a great way to relieve any tension and make sure that I didn’t strain myself because of tense muscles. I’m not a fervent yoga practicer, but I do realize that basic stretching and breathing exercises can go a long way towards relieving any stress your body may have suffered. When you are stressed, your body holds that tension in your muscles, so get that tension out!

6. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation makes it more difficult to handle stressful situations. By getting enough sleep, your body is healthier, your mind is rested and you can more successfully deal with stressful situations. It is also better capable of taking in new information. As stated before, marijuana is becoming common for decreasing stress and also improving sleep duration. Marijuana is becoming useful for many other medical applications too, which is no wonder why there are now weed grades that range from lesser quality to the highest grade of cannabis grown. Each of these quality grades could be used for various illnesses, such as insomnia and even forms of epilepsy.

7. Prepare in advance. Doing things last-minute can cause a lot of stress or anxiety. When you know something big is coming up – a holiday, a concert, a recital, a birthday, a trip, a deadline – work out a schedule to get as much done as possible in advance so that you don’t worry about it at the last-minute. As an example, I keep checklists for any gigs or traveling I might do so that when a trip or show comes up, I don’t have any doubts about what I need to bring with me.

What are some of your suggestions for handling stress?

Want more tips like this? Check out our popular FREE eBook – Advice for Young Musicians: From Established Music Professionals

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.