The pilot survey conducted by Help Musicians UK (2016) illustrates that people working in music are on average three times more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression compared to the general public. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you are in your career. And it’s not about pathologising musicians. Mental health issues can impact everyone. But given mental health issues are so prevalent in the music industry generally and especially in electronic music, what can be of help?
Impact of anxiety on your performance
Right before you’re about to perform, you suddenly can feel really stressed about your technical skills, your tracks or track selection. You might wonder about the public, because you can never really predict how they will react and they might be fickle about what they like. Perhaps you’re thinking how it is possible that they are all having a great time, still jumping around dancing, while you have been up for a while and feeling quite tired.
Suffice to say, anxiety is a B. And if she decides to pop up right before you have to step into the DJ booth, or go on stage, she can really mess up your performance.
There so much to do and consider at the same time. It’s a high-pressure, competitive environment and you push hard - sometimes too hard, to stand out. It’s possible you won’t always be happy with the results. You probably are too hard on yourself too. When your burden is unresolved, this can cause sleepless nights and result in emotional and physical symptoms of stress: headache, stomach problems, low energy, foggy thinking, just to name a few.
Meditation, a solution
It is a common belief that meditation is beneficial for our health. We raise our (self)awareness so that we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the things that transcend us. Usually, what stands in the way of raising our level of (self)awareness is our mind.
Yet, there are a lot of reasons why meditation is such a powerful tool, also for DJs and producers.
A vital component of any type of meditation is to focus on your breathing. Some people may find it hard to do or have never done that before. It can be done in a very simple way by just focusing on slowly inhaling through your nose and blowing the air out through your mouth even slower. Breath focus evokes a relaxation response and is a healthier way to respond to stress than the well-know “fight or flight” reaction.
2. Use your imagination
DJs and producers are creators and they have a great imagination. How else would they be putting together their sets and producing music? Your imagination is one of your greatest tools! Even though some people might have grown up with the notion that it makes you a dreamer and you should be “realistic”, it actually helps you to create the life you want. It is how ideas are born and inventions are made. In order to envision the desired outcome, you have to use your imagination. And that’s easy! Intention alone already comes a long way.
3. Visualisation - see it, then make it happen
Having a clear vision of what you want things to look like, an outcome of a situation or how you want it to feel. Visualize it like the scene of a movie and then step into that scene. Visualization will result in taking action with effect. You will make more conscious choices that are useful to you right now.
4. Time out
Meditation gives you a much deserved time out. You step away from what’s holding you back and give yourself some time to cope. Just like taking a nap, this quiet time can recharge your body and your mind.
5. Daily routine
Having something that is constant, will help you stay feel mentally strong. Incorporating a daily meditation practice in your life is quite easy. You can do this anytime anywhere because this happy helper is always at your disposal! Like with anything, consistency and practice is key. The more you practice, the more resilience you build.
Whether you’re experienced at meditating or just starting out, this guided meditation is designed to help you to:
cope with performance anxiety by calming your nerves in the DJ booth so that you don’t freak out when you make a mistake, or avoid them due to stress and fear of failure.
gain confidence in your craft so that you don't miss out on great opportunities.
stay in the moment so that you can enjoy your set to the fullest.
Bonus! The music was produced specifically for this exercise by Harted.
Grab your FREE copy of this guided grounding meditation now.