Tag Archives: psychology

Cultivate and develop your focus

Like anything else, your focus is something that can grow and maintain. Each day you have to train yourself to develop this element. Take every opportunity to cultivate your attention. At a time when our attention is often drawn to all our electronic communication objects, it is even more important to retrieve this faculty that we seem to gradually lose.

 For example, in a room full of people who speak them, try to focus on one voice.

 In class, try to concentrate on what the teacher said, his voice insulation of all ambient noise and distractions.

 Practice with your cell open and try to stay focused despite signals that indicate that you have received an email, a text message or a call. Try the same thing with a book or watching television.

 When practicing your instrument, focus on one part of your body and pay attention to sensations, tension, gestures … Do the same if you practice a physical activity such as running, swimming, etc.

 Focus on a word, an idea, an image and try to keep your attention directed toward them. Visualize your goals.

 In short, be creative and do you find objects or ideas to which your attention to work your focus. Make sure nice not jeopardize your personal safety while doing this exercise in an inappropriate place.

 Have you managed to read this without being distracted?

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2019

Holidays, perspective, draw your line

On the eve of what will be for many the holidays, with the family and friends reunions. It is a good time to put things in perspective. In this work so demanding that we make, it’s easy to put aside our friends, our family, our leisure activities and relationships, all that for the benefit of our work and professional success. It is so easy to get lost in our career, until finally, considering work as the most important thing in our life.

The danger in this way of thinking is that we end up defining ourselves by our work. Each professional failure lived in this state of mind will seem insurmountable. Healthy relationships help us to maintain a balance and a life outside of work. This could help you maintain a healthy emotional balance essential to a high-level performance.

Moreover, these friends, the family and all the people around us will be there to encourage us, to help us change our ideas, and so potentially help us increase our confidence in ourselves, which will facilitate our evolution.

Again, it’s all about balance, and that is to each of us, to draw the line.

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2019

Focus, concentration, commitment

Maintain maximum concentration and focus is one of the goals of all those who have to perform. Some have a natural ability to enter this state of mind. Others less fortunate will need to work a little.

The first thing to do is to manage its energy level to be able to use a maximum when it is necessary. Maintaining a state of concentration for a long time is demanding. We must learn to dose our efforts.

Great athletes use to the most of this trick, which is both simple and complicated. They simply decide to rush headlong to give the best of themselves and perform in a state of relaxed concentration. Everything is there. They  have a clear purpose and fully engage in the pursuit of their goal.

Sometimes the fear of failure can motivate us, but often it paralyzes. In a situation where we have already experienced the failure or fear, one can focus on the routine preparation, on the warm up to finally connect fully with what we do during the performance itself.

We must constantly remind our best moments, our success, our pleasure, our pride in order to feed this mental state.

Another simple trick is to always work with the same desire to reach a state of concentration and commitment to what we do. Give yourself clear goals in your practice and focus on how to achieve your goals. This will help you develop your focus.

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2019

Sleep less, work more?

Cutting the hours of sleep to get more time to work? Is it effective?

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is important. Not only, we rest, but the brain also uses this time to defragment the hard drive (our brain) by analyzing and classifying information in the right place. He also takes the time to make brand new bridges, completely new connections that will allow us to run perfectly our new learning.

We can maximize the effect of sleep by doing a nap after a period of intense work (particularly effective around noon). The brain then digests the information, which becomes available after our sleep. In addition, the nap will help us reduce our cortisol levels. We can systematically take a nap just before a stressful event to a halt the production of cortisol.

Lack of sleep affects our cognitive abilities, but how much?

Take the example of a student who always gets ” A ” and still ranks in the top 10% in everything she did. If she sleeps just less than seven hours a night during the week and about 6:20 the weekend, she will see her results fall in the back rows, as people that would normally get results in the lower 10%.

A study on soldiers responsible for operating a military complex showed that after a night’s sleep less, there was a 30% decline in their cognitive abilities coupled with a decline in their performance. After two nights of sleep deprivation, the drop was 60%.

When a person is sleeping less than six hours a night for five consecutive days, we observe the same effects as a person deprived of sleep for 48 hours.

Although sleep is important to maximize the effectiveness of your work. Sleep well and be more efficient than ever.

© Jean-François  Desrosby 2019

Beat stress in 32 seconds

A simple exercise that can help you lower your cortisol level, and that is fulfilled in 32 seconds, anyone? This exercise is easy, take a deep breath counting 4 seconds. Never stop your breath, exhale slowly now, even, counting 4 seconds. Repeat until it makes a total of 32 seconds. Good at math? 😉

By controlling your breathing, it is possible to break the cycle of the physical effects of stress, giving a contradictory signal to your brain. This is what we call cardiac coherence and was first developed by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.

Controlling your breathing helps to regularize your heart rate and thus standardize the operation of the brain. This will improve your general homeostasis. Repeat it every time you feel your stress levels increase. Can you afford to take 32 seconds for you? I hope so!

© Jean-François Desrosby D.Mus, 2019

Smaller is Better!

When it comes to setting our goals, it’s easy to dream big. Dreaming is excellent, but it is often difficult to take actions that will lead us straight toward our goals.

It is difficult not to consider every obstacle in our path as the materialization of the failure of this great dream. Why not just split this dream in different stages, as the climber who climbs the mountain one step at a time, his only goal being the next step. On an expedition and in my life in general, I often use this technique, enjoying and concentrating on every step taken towards my ultimate goal.

“Do the difficult things while they are easy, and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu

Not only split our dreams into intermediate steps allows us to draw a clearer path towards our goal, but in addition, each little success can be savored. This action enjoying the success, as brief it may be, will help you build your confidence in your abilities. Your brain will store all as small victories against adversity. One can also, by doing so, easily adjusts the shot and reacts to an unexpected obstacle.

Set yourself small goals, achievable fairly easily, every day, every hour, every minute, every second of your life. Next, take concrete actions to achieve them. Enjoy every success, do not minimize them.

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then  another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

From time to time, go wide angle, re-evaluate the distance that separates you from your dream, analyze if this is still what you want and finally, adjust your actions in the right direction. Continue your expedition one step at a time, living every effort, every step forward and every small victory.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matters the road is the life.” J. Kerouac

 

© Jean-François Desrosby, D.Mus. 2019

 

Visualization: Getting started! (What you see is what you get!)

No matter at what level is your ability to visualize, it can develop in a daily work. Start by imagining you where you practice your instrument: what it looks like, smells, how you feel when you would normally enter this room.

Imagine yourself trying to perform simple extracts on the guitar. Imagine the sound it produces, acoustics, resonance. To develop this ability to visualize, you should work on it 10 to 15 minutes a day.

For example, you can train to see yourself going up on stage, play your repertoire with pleasure and visualize the warm welcome of the public. You can also visualize a difficult passage seeing you be successful in your head, the brain then lower the psychological barrier that was created earlier.

In addition, you can train yourself to see your fingerings and your scores to accelerate memorization. You can train yourself to relive a performance that was a success for you. Imagine staying focused, despite all possible distractions. Imagine reacting  in the right way.

You can help you overcome your blockages’ thanks to visualization. The secret is in regular training.

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.)

Visualize or not visualize, that is the question!

A student asked me: how visualization can help me? My answer was simple: The brain cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real experience. It deals both on the same footing. So what you train yourself to see or feel, your brain registers it as a real experience. Take special care not to imagine the worst, because your brain will be able to help you to realize it! Yours to try using this tool with all possible variations, for sure it will help you  reach your full potential!

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2019

Performance psychology, basic concepts

The brain is a tireless worker. It is never idle. If it is not occupied, it can bombard us constantly with (primarily) negative thoughts through our subconscious.

Filters also direct our thinking. All data that reaches the brain is altered before being interpreted. The brain does not have the power to register the negative form. It is therefore important to set clear goals and to expose them in an affirmative and positive way.

For example, if one says,

« I will not fail, the brain registers: « I will fail ». So one must say, « I will succeed! »

Our conscious minds are responsible executing all that work that is linear, sequential, logical, mathematical, analytical and verbal. On the other hand, our subconscious minds are liable for everything that as to do with intuition, creativity, motor function, emotion management and the storage of memories.

Clearly, the subconscious has a lot to do with our instrumental practice. It allows us to deploy all our assets when the time comes to perform. Unfortunately, if it remains unoccupied, it will act as a moral being, and our personal filters will guide it’s decision-making.

The are at least four types of filters that can alter our perceptions.

It is therefore clear that the information that reaches us is not pure information. It is also easy to understand that each of these elements comes to power to interfere with our future performance. Indeed they have the power steer our brains to places that may not be in line with our desired level of performance. For example, someone who feels unable to perform a certain technical passage technique will not succeed.

“Do it or do not do it, There Is No try!”  Yoda

“If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you cannot, you are right. ” Henry Ford

“I have not failed, I found 10 000 ways that did not work!” A. Einstein

The good news is that everything seems to suggest that this situation is not immutable. The latest research results on brain plasticity show that it retains the power to change throughout the human lifespan. We can always learn, regardless of our age.

Everything can be reshaped. We can change our beliefs, our values and our meta programs when they obstruct our goals. It is also possible to change our goals such that they are in line with our values and beliefs. The important thing is to ensure that all of the elements are working in the same direction by beginning a process of self-discovery. To do this, we can make a move to get to know. The assistance of a psychologist or other professional help to clarify a complex situation.

In the next post, we will t explore practical solutions to optimize our mental performance.

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2019

Brain, Hormones and Performance

Cortisol a friend who is also an enemy!

Our body is a fabulous machine. With the evolution through the centuries, it is capable of the greatest achievements and is designed to enable us to cope with all situations. Stimuli around us trigger a multitude of chain reactions in the depths of our being. These reactions are what allows us to survive our environment.

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Very important for several metabolic functions of the human body, it allows among others to regulate glucose in the blood, controlling blood pressure levels, to secrete insulin, stimulate the immune response and inflammation. Normally, this hormone is present in the human body in greater quantity in the morning and in lesser quantities in the evening. It was named by some researchers stress hormone, not because it is secreted in times of stress, but because it is secreted in large amounts by the body when it is subjected to intense stress.

A slight increase in cortisol may have several positive effects on the human body. For example, it gives us a boost of energy for survival reasons. It increases the ability to memorize and immunological capacity, reduces sensitivity to pain and maintain homeostasis (balance) of the body.

Cons secreted by high doses during periods of stress or chronic stress related to lifestyle, cortisol is a real poison. It reduces cognitive performance, suppresses the thyroid function, causes blood sugar imbalance, reduces bone density and muscle mass, reduces immunity and may cause higher rates of abdominal fat responsible for several diseases such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome. It is therefore, important to limit the action of cortisol at times when it can really be helpful. To do this, we must learn to stop the secretion of this hormone. Before and after a stressful event, it is important to charge our batteries. It must then be fundamental to take a time buffer before and after it.

Several activities can reduce the level of cortisol. Include breathing exercises, yoga, Tai Chi, Qi-Gong, moderate physical activity (according to our fitness), meditation, listening to slow music, to sleep and all activities that enable us to feel present and in harmony with ourselves. These ways will be developed in depth later in this blog.

© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2018