If you’re anything like me, the busyness and excitement of holidays (combined with shorter/colder days in the northern hemisphere) can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. One effective way to manage (besides sitting with the feelings and accepting them for what they are in the moment) is by practicing gratitude.
Try an exercise with me, called Three Great Things: Write down 3 good things that happened today (whether in the practice room, on stage, while teaching a student, during a lesson, etc) and reflect on why each of them happened. Repeat this daily for the next couple weeks. Alternatively, you can simply keep a gratitude log in the form of a list of ongoing things from the present or events from the past.
Consider including small (or trivial) things to be thankful for that many of us might be taking for granted. For example: I’m thankful to have access to Spotify and YouTube every day and be able to stream some of the best music in the world anytime I wish.
Also consider the negative things, because they are part of our growth and can shape who we are. For example: I am thankful for all my terrible, embarrassing performances in college – if it wasn’t for them, I would have never taken initiative to learn from top sports psychologists on how to practice managing performance anxiety.
Once you start writing, you’ll find more and more things to be thankful for – it might even empower you and flip the script on whatever you may be struggling with (musically or in life).