Today’s CRS panel, titled, “‘Til The Wellness Runs Dry: How To Handle The Anxiety Of The Music Business,” focused on mental health, and ways to stay “mentally fit” during the ongoing pandemic. The conversation was led by mental health therapist and ENTERTAINMENT HEALTH SERVICES Pres./Founder ELIZABETH PORTER, who also has a background as a songwriter and sound engineer.
PORTER dove into four mental health concepts, including Distortions, Locus (Center) of Control, Resilience and Emotional Needs.
Our brains consist of both emotional and logical thoughts. Distortions happen when emotions start overriding the logic. An “all or nothing” thought pattern, or “what if” and “overgeneralizing” are some examples of distortion. Here are some tools to combat distortions:
- Is there a tiger in the room? When stressful situations arise, the part of our brain knows as the amygdala leads us to believe there is danger. Ask yourself, “Is there really a tiger in the room” and “Is this situation emergent or urgent?”
- Remember that feelings are not facts. Emotional reasoning will say, “I feel it, therefore it is.” Recognize this thought pattern when it is occurring.
- We “should” all over ourselves. PORTER encourages clients to replace statements like “I should do this” with “I want to do this.” “Should” statements are based on societal standards and trends, and those who work in the entertainment industry can especially recognize that those trends are constantly changing.
2. Locus (Center) of Control
“Most of the time, you can’t control the change that’s happening all around you, but you can control how you respond to it,” said PORTER. Ways to control your responses include:
- Mindfulness and grounding exercises. Grounding is a way of putting yourself fully into the present. A suggested grounding technique is to go outside and try to observe all five of your senses.
- Assess your social media use and how it’s serving you. PORTER suggests being awake for at least 30 minutes before checking your social media account or emails.
- Allow yourself time for your creative flow. Studies show it takes 20 minutes for a brain to fully enter its creative mode, so every time you stop an activity and bring your attention to something else, it’ll take you another 20 minutes to fully get back into that space.
PORTER noted that resilience is not endurance. Resilience is thriving and endurance is surviving.
- Prime your brain for change by challenging yourself to do one scary or challenging thing per day. Even if it’s simply brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, it wakes your brain out of “autopilot” and primes it for bigger changes ahead.
4. Emotional Needs
PORTER follows a model that suggests we have six emotional needs. If you are ever feeling unbalanced, check in with them and make sure no area is lacking.
- Certainty-A sense of security and safety.
- Variety-A sense of change and adventure.
- Significance- A sense of uniqueness and individuality.
- Love & Connection- A sense of acceptance.
- Growth- A desire to learn.
- Contribution- A desire to give to those around us.