3 Non-Musical Ways to Maximize Potential and Increase Confidence

Do you struggle with performance anxiety or mindset and confidence? You are not alone. Sometimes addressing non-musical things can really help the issue at hand, speaking from a teacher and performer lens.

Here are a few non-musical ways to help you (or your child) experience success in addressing performance anxiety or general confidence and anxiety. Read on to the end to get a free recipe for my concentration and focus blend.

1. Encourage a Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset is not a new concept, but it is especially important when tackling difficult tasks or subjects. Studies show that if people believe they can do something, even if it is difficult and they may not get it right away, they learn it better, retain it longer, and stick with the hard task longer if they have a growth mindset.

Encourage your inner self to use phrases such as "Mistakes help me grow." or "My intelligence can be developed." or "I keep trying and never give up!" instead of "I'm not good at it." or "I give up easily.'

2. Get Good Sleep

“Daytime thinking is a building process, whereas nighttime thinking is a sorting process.”

― Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health 

Did you know that people with sleep issues are often misdiagnosed with attention or learning issues? This is because our brains make sense of and sort our experiences at nighttime from during the daytime. When we don't get enough good sleep at night, our brain isn't able to "download" and synthesize what we took in from the previous day. So maybe you did a lot of great learning and made progress the day before, but if you didn't sleep well or long enough, that learning may be lost. There are so many other reasons sleep is vital to health and wellness and learning! Read a scholarly example here.

Set a bedtime routine and stick to it! If you need ideas, I shared 11 tried and true ways to get better sleep here that can be adapted very well for anyone, including kids.

3. Strengthen Left- and Right-Brain Connections

Do you enjoy some activities that are completely unrelated to performing? Of course you do! There are many studies that show certain activities (like purposeful cross-body movement) strengthen the pathways in the brain between the two hemispheres. What does this have to do with performing? Well, music often requires that these pathways be strong. When practicing using these pathways, it's like exercising a muscle and will get stronger with use. The stronger you build a muscle, the stronger you feel when something heavy comes along that you have to pick up. By building strong pathways with something different -- like movement -- you can come back to it feeling stronger, like it is a bit less heavy than last time.

In the
 middle of a moment of anxiety or performing (or perhaps even right before it!), do 
this active listening + movement piece to activate those multiple areas of the brain.

"I Can Do This!" Focus & Concentration Roller Blend

10 drops Peppermint essential oil

10 drops Frankincense essential oil

15 drops Lemon essential oil

15 drops Stress Away essential oil

Add these essential oils to a 10 ml roller bottle and fill with carrier oil. 

Roll on wrists, collar bone, bottom of feet, or the back of neck before tackling a difficult task.

Need more ideas for grounding, calming, and uplifting options?

It is very important to know that not all essential oils are created equal...

You can’t just go out to a big box store (or anywhere online) and trust that you’re getting the good stuff. Lucky for you, I’ve got a source I trust – want to know more? Click the button in the top corner to contact me.

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All things I love and use, of course!

What Are Essential Oils?

What Are Essential Oils?
What are essential oils?

They are considered the lifeblood, the most powerful part of the plant.

They are distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, fruit, rinds, resins, and herbs.

Oils consist of hundreds of different natural, organic compounds.

In humans, they provide support for every system in the body: your skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, endocrine system, hormones, respiratory system, and immune system. They support brain health and a healthy weight. They are used extensively for spiritual support in prayer life, as well as emotional support.

They have been used for thousands of years as beauty aids.

An oil in a diffuser can soothe a child’s tough day at school, and provide a calming effect when you’ve had a stressful day at work. Oils can be used as an alternative to cleaning chemicals in the home.

You can literally start swapping out every single toxic chemical in your home to live a purer lifestyle; and you can do it without breaking the bank!

I used to buy my Lavender online, at farmer’s markets, or at bulk foods stores.

In the United States, there is no rating system for essential oils. It would be wonderful if there were because then you’d know exactly what you were buying!

If you walk into a grocery store and look at a box of cereal, you’ll see nutrition facts on the side. There are no “nutrition facts” on the side of oils. That means you have to trust the source. You have to know the company you are purchasing from. How oils impact our emotions and bodies is a really important reason to get the purest, since not all oils are created equal. You can learn more about that here in this blog post.

Thankfully, you do not need to be an aromatherapist to use them. Not sure where to get started?
Check out this free guide for using oils made easy!

How to Kick Bad Habits with Our Powerful Sense of Smell

How to Kick Bad Habits with Our Powerful Sense of Smell

Overall, I'm a fan of utilizing the sense of smell, which taps into a different, older part of the brain than visual or aural encouragements or clues. Why the sense of smell?

Our olfactory senses are actually housed within the limbic system, the parts of our brain that deal with memory and emotions. So by using the sense of smell, we can affect our memories and emotions! How can we harness this to change habits?

When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, aromatic molecules are carried through the lining of the nasal cavity by tiny olfactory nerves, located in the roof of the inner nose, to the part of the brain called the limbic system. This limbic system in turn influences the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system. 

Because smell information is sent to different parts of the brain, odors can influence many aspects of our lives, such as memory, mood, and emotion. For thousands of years, fragrant plants have been used in healing practices across many cultures, including ancient China, India, and Egypt. Aromatherapy, for example, aims to use essential oils from flowers, herbs, or trees to improve physical and emotional well-being. memories of smell can be vivid and long lasting, which may have a positive effect.  Scents are powerful—they can transport us to different places, remind us of people, and trigger memories long forgotten. We can also harness this powerful sense of smell to help us kick toxic habits and ingrain new, better habits.

3 Ways to Harness Our Powerful Sense of Smell to Kick Bad Habits:

1. Associate the new habit with a pleasant smell.
Anecdotal research shows that people with good habits (like exercising) associate certain happy, energizing smells (like peppermint) with the habit they are trying to create to help their brain and body enjoy the new habit. This makes the habit easier to keep when the going gets tough, as we all know it will. By anticipating those hard days and proactively reminding the limbic system that the new habit is a happy one, this helps us look forward to it more and allows our body to create positive memories associated with the habit.

2. Help the body relax before tackling a difficult habit to break.
We all know that toxic stress prevents us often from seeking the life we truly desire, and often this comes in the form of picking up unhealthy habits. By using smells to calm and relax our bodies while trying to break a bad habit, we're less likely to return to the bad habit out of our stress response. After all, isn't that why we started the bad habit in the first place? It will often take more than sheer willpower to break a bad habit if we don't change the surrounding circumstances at all.

3. Replace the bad habit with a alternative, positive one.
This is often given as a tool to help people break habits like smoking, for example. Some people recommend an alternative activity like gum chewing. I would agree with this idea, but I'd like to add that there ARE ways we can harness our powerful sense of smell to make this process even easier. If we continue with the smoking habit, for example, black pepper essential oil has been shown to decrease the withdrawal symptoms and make quitting easier from an emotional as well as physical standpoint. There are many, many examples like this where the power of smell has aided in replacing a toxic habit with a positive one.

The whole reason we want to use quality essential oils is that we want to really break the bad habit without anything harmful. Not all essential oils are created equal... You can’t just go out to a big box store (or anywhere online) and trust that you’re getting the good stuff! (My sensitive body learned that the hard way...) Lucky for you, I’ve got a source I trust – want to know more? Click the button in the top corner to get in touch. :)