The most common form of stress is to live up to expectations – from others or from yourself. Don’t underestimate your own expectations. At all levels you meet expectations: how you want to sound, how you want to play your instrument, what kind of show the audiences wants to see, the number of sold tickets the venue needs to break even, the number of sold albums the label expects, and you can go on like this. Parallel there’s the expectation of old friends and family for you to stay the same as you’ve always been.
There are many different ways to deal with pressure. Let’s take a person who is grumpy towards you:
- Pass it on: if someone is grumpy to you, you are grumpy to the next person you meet.
- Return the pressure: if someone is grumpy to you, you are grumpy to that person.
- Step aside: you avoid the grumpy person.
- Give in: you take it personally and wonder what’s wrong with you.
- Toss it with you: you feel the weight of all grumpy persons on earth on your shoulders.
- Run away: you feel grumpy too and look for distractions so you don’t have to deal with it.
Our body reacts to stress with three different hormones. Stress gives you an immediate boost of adrenaline and norepinephrine. Your heart starts to beat faster and you become more aware, awake, focused. It can give you quite a rush!
A bit later the cortisol kicks in. This is the stage when you have to be careful because it’s not healthy on the long run. Too much cortisol can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and sugar, decrease libido, produce acne, contribute to obesity and more.
Stress gives you the necessary energy boost you need for a good performance or for the launch a new project.
Though it’s important to take time to relax afterwards. It’s the only way you can get rid of cortisol. If you don’t get rid of it, it will accumulate in your body, with the negative effects mentioned above.
If used regularly, a walk in the woods, listening to relaxing music or getting a good night sleep often will do the job. There are many more options, of course.
What’s your favorite way to relax?