9 tips for keeping a healthy attitude as an artist

This is an ongoing process that I’d like to share. This information is loosely based on an article written by Eric Johnson and a wonderful WordPress authored by Nicole Rogers titled “keeping fit and healthy for playing guitar.”

1) Attitude is everything! If you desire happy guitar
something attract it with what’s positive within yourself. This in turn will bring great things of inspiration surrounding your life with a bounty of creativity. Avoid the mundane and the negative that serves nothing but a tainted ego spewing out cryptic negativity that will begot more negativity. Break the cycle, breath in the air and love the process. Feeling like the inside of a garbage can within yourself? Write about it! (see entry 3) the catharsis can be positively museful in charging not only your art but good for the inner spirituality that lies inside true artists.

2) Be Resilient
Don’t let situations, in your practice regimen specifically if you’re a musician keep you away from being the best you can be. Being tough, thick-skinned and acute in trying situations will only serve you in a positive light. You and no one else are the master of your reality, use that truth to empower yourself in the woodshed.

3) Journal
I have journaled since my freshman year of high School. I business, personal and Music Journal as often as twice a day and as little as twice a week. This keeps ideas in the forefront of  your conscious mind focusing on your goals instead of what you watched on the tele last evening. Journaling also serves as an excellent resource to recall ideas and clarify information that may be months and even years since you last vested time toward it. If you’re an OS X user as I am Day One is a magnificent piece of software that aslo is available with an iOS app that shares entries.

4) Optimism
Take the time to be optimistic. You control the thoughts in your mind, take the garbage out when it piles up. If you struggle in this area it can take time at first, but it becomes less work as you clean the messes up one by one. It is possible to maintain positive thought through your whole creative process, it just takes work.

5) Enjoy the process
Enjoy the process of creating rather it be work or play. If you don’t enjoy the process you need to “change it up.” Do whatever it takes to enjoy your time creating art. Art stimulates the nervous system which in turn can have the effect of energy but also focus. Be the part of the process you enjoy!

6) Exercise!
Being of the “Thick” persuasion myself I’ve found exercise even if only on a treadmill will make a difference between my elbow and fingertips in a big way. As I’ve previously written I turned a corner a while back after reading an article written by Eric Johnson about his exercise regimen based solely around his performance capabilities after the age of 40. I’ve been on an exercise schedule for over a year which has improved my stamina as a player 100% not to mention the almost 60 lbs I’ve taken off and I feel great! I’m completely warmed up in less than 40 minutes and at a happy medium in 25 which is really important to me. I don’t have much patience for warming up or changing strings, I like to make both as quick as possible.

7) Sleep
I know this may sound silly but sleep well and with a window open if possible. Getting enough sleep daily helps you stay healthy and puts 02 into our bodies in abundance. For myself it has helped me keep a tighter schedule throughout the day and evening requiring less effort to carry out goals and have fun!

8) Act, don’t react. The distinct difference between Homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom is the brilliant ability to act and not react… well most of us anyway. If you react you’re disempowering yourself giving away your mojo to a situation not warranting your time nor bandwidth. Acting on the other hand is thought out and balanced, wastes less time and keeps your goals, drive and desire in perspective. If you react to a bad performance instead of act the outcome will be profoundly different.

9) Laugh!
If you can’t laugh at yourself you’re missing out on some funny shite! I do this thing that always makes me laugh, I’ll repeat a mistake in the same spot in the very next phrase when improvising. It makes me laugh! I don’t know why for sure but I suspect it’s my id body slamming my supper-ego. Laughing also releases the proper mood enhancing peptides that elevate your physical body which is a plus for any ambidextrous physical activity. You can actually force yourself to laugh even if you’re not jovial and still reap the benefits of the chemicals being released into you body with Laughing Yoga exercises. This Yogi is to funny not to laugh at or with!

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My new years resolution for 2012 in the now Sept 24

I’m not one for making new years resolutions but when you’ve already made your mind up to carry out a very difficult task and you’re like me it’s a done deal. It doesn’t happen that way often enough for this guy but when it does get the hell out-of-the-way. The time was the Holidays-ish last year so I did it, I made a resolution that was such a cliché it was almost sarcasm in its purest form. That in itself brought a little twisted humor and whimsy to the task creating some fun. The Deed: dropping some serious weight and completely change my lifestyle. No one want’s to do that and I can really sympathize with athletes a lot more in some ways now believe me. My diet, weight and lack of exercise was really effecting my performance as a musician and in the bedroom (I know TMI but I’m to old to GAC piss off).

I noticed it when I was doing a really demanding but brilliantly artistically fulfilling session that was to be 23 songs, that’s a long CD. I was doing it with someone over the internet which is always more demanding then having someone in the booth with you. During those sessions I had to play for almost 2 hours just to warm up. It doesn’t take that long to warm up and I’m one of those players who has to warm up for 25 minutes or I just don’t have it. The real downer was it also took those two hours off my finger tips as well. After about a good 5 to 6 hours of playing all the skin is gone off my fingers and I’ll blister. I have some rather ballzy calluses for a club schlepper too.

ballzy calluses

Ballzy calluses! after two hours of playing my Les Paul with a few layers of skin worn away just this evening O.0

If you let them go that far that you blister you won’t be able to play the next day and that costs money usually. I was at a record high in weight and middle aged had crept through the back door, change was no longer a choice. I am gratefully here to report I’ve lost 14″ around my center and feel great but it’s a stupid, dope, whack, silly, crazy, funky, sick amount of Time I have to put in exercising daily. I’m still getting smaller in cloths size but gaining lbs which means I’m in muscle or so the pundits say. Hey, My doctor is all kinds of happy. You can’t buy that kind of chaos as a rebel believe me.

The best thing, musical musings are returning to the physical side of my back, shoulders, wrists, hands and fingers. Les Pauls weigh a lot at least mine weighs in 12 and a half lbs and my Epiphone Custom Les Paul (which is my next press because I love this guitar) weighs in 14 lbs.

Epiphone Custom Les Paul

To me??? This is so dam sexy!

The last few years that heavy guitar wore me out in a stamina performance based way after about 35 minutes. My Strat is heavy for a Strat (10 lbs) as well but my Telecaster is light, even those guitars where really bothering me. By the end of the night we could be Jamming Black Sabbath covers to blow off steam and I’d have a freaking Telecaster with the tone knob turned all the way down because my back and shoulders were on fire. I can remember at rehearsals sitting in between songs like BB King something you can’t do at the gig unless your BB King or Skunk Baxter.

Jeff Skunk Baxter

Jeff Skunk Baxter has earned that seat.

Now I’m not having thoughts of “wow this guitar is really heavy” rather than “that chord substitutions is sweet!” That’s what my mind should be on unless I want to be worthy of fruit being tossed. The Audience is listening!

As usual in life it’s only yourself and your fear that keep you from what it is you’re really trying to accomplish. My fear comes in the form of this inner Moon Unit Zappa Valley girl voice inside my head that says “like are you really going to try and exercise all these hours a day for the rest of you life?” BAM! Vally girl self-doubt, the worst kind next to Vally girl guilt trips! Oh my whatever shall I do? I know not the future, at least not yet but I’m working on it :) I reckon it will go something like this: “Man Chris we’ve been eating Pizza and playing more video games in the last 2 weeks then we’ve been recording or jamming.” Then I’ll go to the gym for 3 months and eat properly until the next time I play video games and eat like crap playing music and cards with the homies for 2 weeks. It could happen :P

moon

Like Oh my God can you like totally exercise like this for the rest of like all time and stuff? Bleh!

I have to give a Talk back to Nicole Rogers who’s article on Guitar and Health was the inspiration for this Press: http://classicalguitarnstuff.com/2012/08/29/keeping-fit-and-healthy-for-playing-guitar/