Overcoming anxiety is hard. It’s a constant struggle for me and probably for many other people in the music therapy profession. Sometimes, as horrible as it is, my personal anxiety can carry over into my music therapy practice, especially when there is a lot on my plate. It’s happened a lot this past week and I am becoming more aware of it. I have been learning in my internship how to effectively deal with anxiety, both personal and clinical, and I’d love to share my reflections and thoughts with you today!
You’ve probably heard about the “hats” metaphor that people use to describe themselves in different situations. There’s the music therapy hat, the personal hat, and any other hat that may apply to your life. In order to deal with anxiety, I’ve been practicing wearing just my music therapy hat when I’m at my internship. In order to do this, I found it beneficial to stay in the moment. By staying in the moment, I avoid thinking about everything that I have to get done after a session or otherwise. Also, this is beneficial to the client because then I am focusing completely on them and their needs.
If I have time before I go into a session and I’m feeling anxious for whatever reason, I take five minutes to just relax and think about my “happy” place. This gets me prepared and less anxious. If I don’t have time when transitioning between clients at my internship, I like to take a drink of my water, take a deep breath, and visualize myself doing something that I love (even if it’s for a short thirty seconds). When I don’t take a moment for my brain to relax, my tensions can carry over into the next session, which is not the best option for anyone.
Overcoming anxiety is a process and if I continually work towards handling it effectively, it will become easier.
What are some ways you overcome anxiety and minimize it’s effect on your life?