Adam Ficek continues his series of articles with more tools for the resilience toolbox.
My previous blog explored the need for resilience in the music industry alongside some cognitive strategies that we can engage with as performers.
This blog explores some more somatic (body) based resources I find helpful during times of overwhelm or just to ‘get through’. I am fortunate enough to be trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy alongside my core training as a UKCP Integrative Psychotherapist. This approach incorporates an embodied perspective and adheres to the belief that our psychological distress emanates or gets stuck in our body or nervous system.
For example, one ‘somatic’ strategy I often use involves bringing my awareness to my body during times of stress. This allows me to step outside of my thoughts and reflectively ground myself. Generally speaking, I view my psychological experience on three levels being cognitive (thoughts), emotions, and then the somatic (body). When I choose to focus on my embodied experience, I can temporarily pause the other incoming signals (thoughts, feelings) and allow myself to anchor in my body. This can be incredibly useful when we are being bombarded and overwhelmed with thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations. We can almost create a purposeful silencing of the other stimulus by just noticing where the moment lands within us, this could be a tightness in the shoulders, a weakness in the legs through to a heat in our stomach. Another tool to help with our resilience building!
These body-based resources are especially important to us as musicians as we continually use our bodies to express ourselves whether this be vocally or through the playing of an instrument. Us musicians are all fundamentally embodied, expressive artists!
A further part of my resilience toolbox is the conceptualisation of our inner dialogue or relationship to our self. Whether we view these ‘parts’ as inner critics, ego states or selves, it is my opinion that we need to bring them closer with compassion rather than push them away as outcasts. I try to hold onto this compassionate perspective of viewing all parts as being there for a reason, even if it seems almost impossible to believe at the time.
As a practical strategy, perhaps next time you feel the urge to purge the ‘inner critic’, I invite you all to be curious and creative in regard to exploring what this ‘part’, ‘self’ or ‘ego state’ is doing for you. Is it attempting to protect you from something? Attacking you before someone else can? Etc etc…Just approaching your ‘parts’ from his perspective can be incredibly beneficial as a resource. It’s my belief that our parts never go and all we can do is to bring them closer and understand them to the extent that they no longer impact us the same way. They lose their heat, the more we offer them compassion and understanding, I know this sounds like a ‘therapy-tiktok-esque-psychofluff’ cliché, but it does help!
In the next blog I will explore my fourth pillar of resilience which incorporates the relationship to others and of course the power of peer groups.
Adam Ficek hosts a monthly show 'Tonic Music' on Totally Wired Radio, where he talks to various guests about music and mental health. You can listen again to any of the shows via Mixcloud.