11 Ways to Stop Overthinking

I recently asked my Facebook group tribe about their strategies to stop them from overthinking things. As a notorious ruminator myself, I sometimes struggle to keep my thoughts at bay, whether they are positive or negative. Creative, positive impulses such as musical ideas, ideas for new lyrics or sharp insights about ways to help a client get unstuck, seem to go hand in hand with excessive worrying and overthinking, which includes contemplating worst case scenarios and possibilities of utter failure.

There is a saying going around that overthinking is the art of creating problems that weren’t even there. While there is undoudtedly an element of truth there, most overthinkers will recognize that ruminating is not a conscious process. The issue does not present itself on a rational level, but rather on an emotional, unconscious one. We know that it’s bad for us and that it creates stress and anxiety, but sometimes we can’t help doing it.

Having said that, even the worst overthinker can develop strategies to control and tame their negative train of thoughts. Here are some of these strategies that people in the group, including me, have found helpful:

  1. Aligning self to purpose and values

This is one of the pillars of my Vision to Action group coaching program. When the big picture (your identity, vision and values) are aligned with your day-to-day actions and habits, then you act with purpose and confidence. When you act with purpose and confidence, clarity and freedom are present, while negative stress and overwhelm are far away.

2. Being organized

Having the right systems and/or personnel in place to automate your day-to-day actions, ensures that you don’t waste your precious time with activities that should be automated, or done by someone else. Stress and overthinking are often the result of feeling that you are wasting your time doing urgent yet unimportant things

3. Consuming a substance that helps you relax

Of course I am not going to argue here for the benefits of consuming illicit substances and alcohol. Many of us know however that a beer or a gin and tonic can temporarily relax our minds and take the edge of anxiety and overthinking. The key word here is ‘temporarily’. Using alcohol and drugs to tackle long-term problems is not a recommended strategy, as their long-term effects are often more detrimental than the problem they are trying to solve. So proceed with caution in this case, it’s all about the balance.

4. Exercise or Martial Arts training

Any form of exercise such as yoga, jogging or martial arts training, helps to focus our minds on our bodies, regulate our breath and give us a sense of control by creating purposeful movement. When focus and a sense of control are present, anxiety and overthinking are far away.

5. Public speaking

Many of us are familiar with the finding that fear of public speaking is more often present than the fear of death. So this strategy to cope with overthinking is not for everyone. Personally, I love talking to a group of people about topics I am passionate about. It helps me structure my thoughts and formulate my beliefs in a rational and coherent way. Being able to make an argument eloquently and rationally, is a great remedy against anxiety and overthinking, as you are in control of your thoughts, rather than these thoughts controlling you.

6. Walks in nature

If exercise is not your thing, you can still achieve the same effects with regular walks in nature. A walk in nature has many benefits. The natural hues calm the mind, relax the soul and keep negative thoughts at bay, as natural beauty draws you in being present at the moment.

7. Focusing on completing tasks and achieving your goals

Focusing on completing tasks and goals you want to achieve, is another way of creating a sense of control and acting purposefully. By now, it should be clear than a sense of control and purpose are the enemies of stress, overwhelm and overthinking!

8. Distracting yourself and Pattern Interrupt

Some people are good at focusing on a new distraction whenever they feel rumination is around the corner. In Neuro Linguistic Programming, we talk about Pattern Interrupt: an activity which interrupts an existing pattern, replacing it with another one. E.g. putting make-up on or taking a walk in nature, are both ways of interrupting existing patterns with completely new ones.

9. Changing your environment

Most of us, focus too often on things inside of us (e.g. our motivation and goals) rather than creating the right circumstances outside of us. Changing your environment to make it more compelling and inspiring, goes a long way towards helping you to take control of your actions and create a sense of purpose. E.g. I arranged my musical instruments and recording equipment in such a way that they are always in an inviting position. They are a visible reminder that my personal satisfaction and pleasure are only a click of a button away.

10. Guided meditation or hypnosis

Any form of guided meditation or hypnosis is another effective way to tackle overthinking. It helps us to focus on being present at the moment, and hearing another voice giving us commands mutes that negative inner voice.

11. Accepting the natural flow of things

Ultimately, what will be, will be. We seldom have full control of events unfolding around us, something which has been recently highlighted by the Covid 19 pandemic. All we can do is focus on our response to these events. Focusing on the things we can control and accepting that there are things we can’t, goes a long way towards stopping rumination and overthinking.

If you are a bit of an overthinker, it’s likely that you will have used some of the above strategies at some point. Which ones did you find most useful, and which ones didn’t help? Post your comments below.

Who Do You Want To Be?

In business and in life, we often think that our success is dependent on having the right answers ready to the questions reality asks. A true mark of success, we reason, is being able to know the solution to every challenge and problem in our area of expertise. After all, isn’t this what successful entrepreneurs, leaders and managers do?

I have to admit that I have often fallen into this rabbit hole myself as a manager and team leader. A manager or leader, I was told, is someone who goes around solving problems people and teams within organisations encounter. Like a weathered fireman (or firewoman) a manager extinguishes fires others have started, occasionally shaking their finger at them in disapproval. Like a good father (or mother) figure, the manager then pats the errant employee on the back offering forgiveness and allowing them to play with the matches again, this time with extra supervision. Until the inevitable next fire occurs.

However, life has become unpredictable and our reality is changing at a fast pace. In our modern world, there are not many ‘answers’ that can solve a big range of problems. Especially in areas where we deal with the behaviour of individual people and teams, understanding and leveraging context and dynamics so that your staff are empowered to seek solutions to their own problems, is the key to both your team’s wellbeing and your business’ success.

And this brings us to an important realisation: what makes the difference in this fast-paced environment is not so much the answers we give, but the questions we ask. Asking the right questions whenever a new challenge occurs, goes a long way towards solving this particular issue we are facing rather than seeking the universal formula that will solve this and all similar problems in the future.

So what questions are we typically asking ourselves as business owners and solopreneurs? The most common questions I have heard are what questions, such as:

  • What do I need to do in order to succeed?
  • What are my goals? What is my vision?
  • What separates me from the competition?

Another common type of questions business owners are asking themselves, are how questions:

  • How am I going to do this?
  • How will I tackle this challenge?
  • How will I stay afloat?

Another type of question, less common but crucially more important than the first two (as answering it with honesty is more likely to motivate you to continue doing what you are doing), is a why question. Why do I do what I do? What is my ‘why’, what drives me? Such questions can be answered with the assistance of a range of coaching tools such as the Purpose Venn Diagram (often wrongly referred to as the Ikigai), visioning exercises and value elicitation.

A type of question which is of equal importance, but which I rarely encounter, is a who question. It goes like this: who do I need to be in order to succeed in my goals or to realise my vision? This ‘who’ is often referred to as our self or identity. In order to understand your (desired) identity, ask yourself what you need to be doing regularly and consistently in order to become what you want to be.

If you want to be a writer, then you need to write consistently. So ensure you show up every single day, whether you are motivated or not, and decide how much time you will devote daily into sitting on your desk and writing.

A salesperson needs to close sales. So ensure you make the calls every single day and keep going even when you experience a particularly bad batch of calls. If you decide you want to be an artist or musician, then ensure you devote time every single day to practice, reflect or create, regardless of your muse being available or not.

Doing all of the above consistently, whether you ‘feel like it’ or not, will eventually convince you consciously and unconsciously that you are the person you want to be. ‘Fake it till you make it’ if it helps to beat the imposter syndrome with, as long as you remember that making it is all about repeatedly doing what you need to be doing in order to become who you need to be.

Vision with Action Changes the World

Vision without action is just a dreamaction without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.” (Joel A Barker)

I am about to complete the current intake of my Vision to Action program. A small group of dedicated solopreneurs have over the last three months gained in-depth awareness of what drives them and what motivates them. They drew their long-term vision, elicited their values and used them as compass for their marketing and businesses. They created clear and detailed goals, prioritized effective actions and built habits that will create sustainable success.

 Having spent enough time working with self-employed business owners, one recurring issue I noticed is the lack of ‘success formulas’ in the real world, despite what the gurus will try to tell you. The only constant I have observed, is the importance of your ‘why’ and your commitment to bring it into action. It’s about being clear on what drives you to do what you do, as well as using that knowledge to make your actions more purposeful, effective and authentic.

It is simply not enough to know what your vision and values are. You also need to understand how to transform them into purposeful action and sustainable habits. And in order to align the big picture (vision/values) with the small, day-to-day actions, you need two more intermediate chain links: you need to be clear on your goals and plans (what you are going to do and how you are going to plan for it) and crucially, your identity (who you need to be in order to achieve these goals).

Once all these different layers are aligned, you are ready for a business life full of clarity, freedom and purpose. The solopreneur’s elusive dream of ‘working smart, not hard’ will be within reach.

Go on and change the world,
Kostas
PS there are some exciting and interesting discussions in my FREE facebook group right now! Have you checked it out yet? Click here to join the conversations!

Don’t Waste Your Time Constantly Doing Urgent Stuff

Having worked in various positions as Senior Manager and Team Leader for the best part of the last 15 years, I too regularly succumbed to the classic manager’s delusion: that being a good manager is all about keeping constantly busy.

Nothing screams ‘manager’ like working against a tight deadline, dealing with a sudden crisis, attending back-to-back meetings and multitasking between projects. At the end of a hard day having been immersed in a combination of most of the above, you go home with a beautiful glowing feeling in your stomach, feeling that you have once again successfully steered the ship and kept things on track.

Generally, we see most of the above as the ‘good stuff’, the stuff we are being paid for. Whether you are a solopreneur or a manager, keeping busy doing ‘urgent’ stuff and jumping from one task to the other, is seen as an essential, and perhaps even desirable part of the job. I know many small business owners who would probably be alienated and completely out of their comfort zone if they were to be forced to spend half a day a week or longer working on their business, rather than in their business.

But the really important stuff, those whose outcomes and results seem invisible here and now, are the things that can propel your business or make the difference between an ok manager and an exceptional manager. Goal setting, preparation, values clarification and planning may seem fruitless endeavours in the present, where fires need to be extinguished, suppliers need to be chased up and client appointments need to be rescheduled.

However, in the long run, how you do things matters much more than what you do right now. Time pressure is likely to be your biggest source of stress and overwhelm. As a solopreneur, your time is your most valuable asset. You should use it wisely and focus on the things that make the difference to your business.

Former US President Eisenhower used the so-called “Eisenhower Principle” to organize his tasks. He is quoted as saying, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” Stephen Covey brought these concepts to the mainstream, calling it “The Urgent/Important Matrix” in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The Urgent/Important Matrix consists of four quadrants. The first quadrant exists of tasks that are urgent and important; the second of important, but non-urgent tasks; quadrant 3 is about urgent, but not important tasks such as dealing with unimportant emails, attending meetings that have no direct impact to your business or objectives and needless interruptions. Quadrant 4 finds you in full procrastination mode, such as ‘escape’ activities which include aimlessly browsing the internet, purposelessly chatting to work colleagues but also being consumed in needlessly self-critical thoughts, or spending your energy worrying and getting angry about things and events you have no control about. Those activities are both non-urgent and non-important.

While most of us would consider this last category as the least desirable one, I would argue that the real danger to the success of our business (or effective management) comes from dwelling too long in quadrant 1. Sure, we all know that browsing the internet and chatting about the weather are non-productive activities. Even while we are engaged with them, we feel guilty about them and realize that what we are doing is not helpful.

However, being preoccupied with quadrant 1 activities is, as described above, often seen as a noble and even desirable thing to do. The problem with this is that without proper planning, alignment to our values or monitoring of the progress towards our objectives, these tend to be lower impact activities for the future of our business. Just like in Groundhog Day, if we end up spending all our time and energy being preoccupied with them, we will never achieve anything different or better than what we are achieving right now. It’s a recipe for stagnation and ultimately, mediocrity.

Take some time this week to reflect on where you are in the Urgent/Important Matrix. How much time do you currently spend in each quadrant? What’s getting in the way of you managing your time better? How do you self-sabotage?

Q1 – Crises – If you’re spending most of your time here, how are you dealing with stress?

Q2 – Goals & Planning – If you are spending a sufficient amount of time here in order to continuously learn and grow, congratulations! How could you make sure you stay in this quadrant?

Q3 – Interruptions – If you’re spending most of your time here, you may need to find ways to say “No” to others.

Q4 – Distractions – If you’re spending most of your time here, you may need to find ways to say “No” to yourself.

Increasing the time you spend in quadrant 2 at the expense of time spent in other quadrants, is a sure way to maximize your freedom and clarity of purpose and ultimately, it is your most reliable path to abundance and work satisfaction.

Cultivating a Champion’s Mindset

Last week, I had a fascinating chat with Kickboxing Champion Jessica Fleischer. In this fascinating conversation, which can be viewed above, we learn about what it takes in order to develop the mindset of a champion. What can we learn and apply in our day-to-day business as solopreneurs? Some highlights:

  • Know your mission: Jess didn’t have self confidence as a kid, and had to fight limiting beliefs, such as “I’m too big” and “I can’t do it”. Her boyfriend encouraged her to get into kickboxing, she became a champion and then devoted her energy to helping others to build their own confidence through it
  • Jessica is now teaching others to find their inner champion. It’s never too late to start; it depends on your goals how far you are prepared to go
  • Personal development is another crucial component alongside physical exercise, in order to cultivate a champion’s mindset. Jessica also runs a weekly book club as part of her I Am Fighting Fit kickboxing club, where relevant non-fiction books are discussed.
  • Becoming a champion created the confidence in her to believe in herself to go self-employed. NLP and hypnosis helped her to make the mindset shift
  • Everyone wants the glory of being a champion, black belt or master, but do they want to turn up at every training session, even after they had a long day at work and didn’t have a good nights sleep? Consistently repeating what you need to be doing in order to succeed, is key to success
  • You need to have the discipline because the motivation will not always be there. Dedication, determination and discipline are key to success.
  • Identify the gaps and find your niche. Jessica is currently using her experience of kickboxing and hypnotherapy to help martial arts instructors.
  • Know your mission and understand what drives you. Jessica has completed a vision board with her Ikigai as a constant visual reminder of the common area between what she loves doing, what she is good at, what she can earn money from and what the world needs.

Join here my FREE facebook group for solopreneurs, small business owners, therapists and creatives who want to beat stress and overwhelm and create freedom, accountability and clarity of purpose: From Vision to Action | Facebook

How comfortable are you talking about yourself?


I’ll be the first to admit that I have always been jealous of people who are comfortable discussing their life experiences and telling their life stories. Sadly I’m not one of these people. I always struggled to talk about myself. Deeply hidden somewhere inside me, there seems to be an unconscious assumption that no one would be really interested to hear what I have to say about myself. Hence I resorted to telling my stories and experiences through abstractions.

I started to write music to express my feelings in a more abstract way, while I injected some autobiographical elements into my lyrics. As an artist, this gave me the opportunity to avoid talking directly about me and somehow still be able to express how I feel through my art. 

But people love stories. Storytelling is central to everything we do; people relate to other people through the sharing of stories and past experiences. That’s how we get to know, like and trust each other.

As a solopreneur, storytelling is an important part of your professional activities, including your marketing. Things used to be different. It wasn’t too long ago, when I started my first social media marketing job for a beauty clinic, that Instagram images had to look neat, professional, glossy and detached. The vibe was all about being an expert and emanating an air of superior skill and knowledge.

 Nowadays, things have completely changed. Marketing is now more effective when it involves authenticity and ‘behind the screen’ peeks. Just like in other aspects of life, potential buyers want to get to know, like and trust you before they buy from you. To quote Seth Godin: “People do not buy goods & services. They buy relations, stories & magic”

Who am I then? What is my story? Our memories are subjective, so there are endless permutations involving the stories we tell about ourselves. But today, I want to tell you the following things about myself:

  • I was born in the north of Greece
  • I lived there until the age of 11 when I moved to Belgium. Moving to a country I was not familiar with and having to learn a new language and culture from scratch, had a big impact on my life. I was quite a shy introvert at the time and that’s when my love for writing music and lyrics started, as it was the only way for me to directly express how I feel, while avoiding the embarrassment of having to approach others and talk about myself  
  • I studied psychology as I was always interested in human behaviour and wanted to be a therapist. Instead, I went on to do research at the University as I got disillusioned in therapy based on what I had learned about the mainstream therapy approaches
  • But the impulse to work directly with people and solve their (mental) problems was strong, so after volunteering for the Samaritans in Brussels, I continued working for a charity helping victims of crime when I moved to England (the reason I moved will be a story for another time, but let’s say that love was involved).
  • Working for that charity, I discovered the power of coaching. Put quite simply, I always believed in working smart rather than hard (call me lazy…) and the use of coaching techniques allowed me to get my team to take ownership of their tasks, perform better and as a consequence, I was spending less time micromanaging them and doing their job when they got stuck. Talking about a win win situation!
  • This got me thinking that I could probably do coaching as a ‘job’ in itself! I therefore decided to become a professional coach. I was particularly interested in working with small and ethical businesses, as they make the world such a better place with their vibrant individuality. Sadly, I lacked a crucial ingredient: I didn’t have any experience as a business owner myself!
  • This soon changed when I moved yet again, this time from England to Wales. I bought a beauty business and managed it (including a number of staff) over a period of time, until the familiar pandemic put a spanner in the works and I decided not to renew the lease. From a financial perspective, this business was a total disaster. It did however teach me a number of valuable lessons about running a small business and gave me what I was lacking: experience as a business owner!
  • I am now using my experience to help others build and grow their business while taking care of their mental wellbeing. I ensure that in the meanwhile, they don’t neglect their vision and values. When your vision and values are aligned with your habits and day to day actions, that’s when magic happens and true freedom emerges!
  • I am still seeking for a ‘grand unification’ of my musical and coaching activities. So don’t be surprised if one day you hear of some crazy idea, such as me delivering hypnotherapy sessions while at the same time composing individualized soundtracks for the audio recordings of the same sessions!

How about you? What’s your story that helps your clients to know, like and trust you? Getting comfortable at telling (and repeating) that story might be one of your greatest assets as a solopreneur. It will help you better connect with your clients and that’s when relations, stories and magic happen.

Kostas

The True Purpose of Coaching People

Currently one third in on my Vision to Action group coaching program with three wonderful solopreneurs, I found myself reflecting on what it is that we coaches actually do. The word ‘coach’ was first used to mean ‘someone who trains of instructs others’ in University slang of the mid-19th century: coaches were private tutors which ‘carried’ a student through an exam.

According to that original definition, coaching does the following:

  • training
  • instructing
  • ‘carrying’ people through a challenge
  • helping them perform and get results

These are all very valid points and regularly part of the coaching process. However, I feel there is one crucial element missing. A good coach does all of the above, and transforms.

In four short weeks time, I have seen mindsets shift, visions and values getting aligned, unhelpful beliefs being questioned and challenged. Clear and attractive goals have been set and personal and professional lives have started being transformed. To quote Brian Tracy: ‘There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines’.

You may have heard (this quote has been attributed to various people, Bill Gates among others) that we typically tend to underestimate what we can achieve in a year, even though we paradoxically tend to overestimate what we can achieve in one day. So we are currently building a bridge between today’s actions and habits and next year’s goals, in order to start creating tomorrow’s results. 

Focus on what you want to achieve in your life, be clear about how it reflects your values and personal identity and if your vision is strong enough, you will figure out the details of ‘how to’ one way or another. Nobody said the journey will be easy; but a goal worth pursuing will make it worthwhile.

PS Do you also sometimes wonder how to transform your vision and goals into positive action and successful daily habits? Do you need more clarity on the difference between setting compelling goals and merely having daydreams? Are you running away from the monsters of stress and overwhelm, but still hear their sinister laugh right behind you? Then I have some idea’s. Grab a slot here and let’s talk!

The True Reason Why You Are Not Motivated

I know it has been a while since most of us have been able to go on holidays, but perhaps you can still remember your morning routine last time you woke up away from home in your hotel, bed and breakfast, chalet or resort!  

Most likely, you woke up looking forward to all the exciting things you were going to do that day. The choices were there right in front of you. A vivid, compelling image of your imminent swimming adventures, epic walks, boat trips and plentiful meals with family and friends took hold of your excited mind. ‘What shall I do first’? Choices, choices….

Compare and contrast this with a typical working day. Perhaps you started the day by hitting the snooze button; ‘Let me sleep just a little more’ you mumbled to yourself. At first, faint images of missing your breakfast and rushing to get dressed crossed your mind. But your bed was too warm and cozy, and you ignored them. Then, at the next snooze, a panic started to get hold of your brain:
‘I will be late in my client appointment’
‘I need to submit this paperwork in the morning’
‘My boss will kill me’

Images of a well pissed-off client, mountains of paperwork pilling up and a vengeful boss, finally motivated you to take action and get out of your bed.

Now I appreciate that most of us are probably somewhere in-between these two rather extreme scenario’s, but they illustrate well the two main motivation ‘programs’ most of us consistently use in our lives: motivated toward vs motivated away

People who are motivated toward, seek pleasure, comfort and relaxation. They typically start the day asking themselves questions such as: ‘What can I accomplish today? What opportunities do I have to get closer to the things I want and desire in my life?’
This style is greatly valued in our Western society. People who are motivated toward, tend to be goal oriented and ‘big picture’. As a consequence of this, they often don’t consider what problems or difficulties they might run into, as they are not good at doing detail. The ‘young entrepreneur mindset’ is a classic example of this motivation style. While it often yields results, it does so by the “school of hard knocks”.

As a solopreneur who is motivated toward, it would help you to hire someone doing the detail work in your business, such as admin work, marketing campaigns etc. You are in your element when you are in charge of these activities like an orchestra conductor or film director, but trust on those around you who are skilled in implementing the detail. 

People who are motivated away, typically move away from pain, discomfort and stress. The further they find themselves from that source of discomfort, the less motivated and therefore less willing to act they are. When the source of the problem comes closer, they get motivated again. This often leads to cyclical levels of motivation, depending on the distance to the source of their discomfort and pain. E.g. if you want to lose weight as a motivated away person, you are only likely to be motivated when the discomfort of that weight becomes apparent, such as when you get breathless running to catch the bus, when your back pain worsens due to excess weight or when you experience difficulties performing simple tasks, such as putting your socks on in the morning.

Motivated away people often think about problems rather than where they want to be. Their attention is focused on what they don’t want, rather than what they do want. They often experience high anxiety and stress until they are motivated to act. It is therefore important to manage your stress levels as a motivated away solopreneur. However, you have one great advantage on your ‘motivated toward’ peers: because of your focus on obstacles and problems, you are an excellent problem solver. You can foresee and analyse difficulties and find solutions before experiencing them.

It is important to keep in mind that while most of us are capable of using both motivation styles, we typically only consistently use one of these in most areas of our lives. Figuring out what drives and motivates you, is key to understanding the areas where you get stuck and don’t make as much progress as you would like. Making little tweaks in these areas, can help you get unstuck and achieve the results you want.

Wishing you a week full of motivation and positive action! 
Kostas

PS are you often frustrated about all the important things you never get round to, because you are somehow not motivated to do the work despite realizing their importance? Are you seriously fed up of missing the train to your big dreams and aspirations because of the procrastination that holds you back? I have an idea that can help you solve this problem for good. Grab a slot here and let’s talk!

Music Can Enhance Your Mental Health in Unique Ways

I recently asked the following question in my Facebook group for small business owners and solopreneurs“Does music affect your mental health, whether this is in a positive or negative way”?

 As various neuroscientists have demonstrated, music has the ability to light up our whole brain. it doesn’t just engage one part of our brain like many other activities do; it involves most of it, as well as the rest of our bodies.  It is therefore not surprising that the responses I received reflect a wide variety of experiences, showcasing the power of music to affect both our minds and bodies. Below some examples:

The music I love is like meditation and if I get goosebumps I know it’s not just mental, it’s physical too.

It’s a total escape. I find I want to get lost in music to cope with things in life.

I think it’s a vibrational thing, at least it’s certainly that way for me. Lots of songs hold different memories, and once the feelings surrounding those memories events have been dealt with, those songs no longer have the emotional impact they once had…

For me music is my life, so I’m very unproductive if I don’t listen to music for a long time.

I love music and I have different playlists for different moods. I am often seen dancing and singing around the kitchen during my micro breaks.

…surely music affects my mental health, it has to touch my heart  and soul and when it does, I totally get lost in the music  and even think the world around me doesn’t exist. 

Music adapts to my moods, my personal thoughts, it adds “magic” to my days, soothes the soul, also even if I don’t understand the language there’s a certain understanding of feelings between the music, the mystery of the language and I.

But the show was stolen by one of our members, who commented on the benefits of music she experiences despite her profound hearing impairment. It was such a powerful account that I’m relating her comment here verbatim:
I’m profoundly deaf and have been from birth, yet music is my love & lifeline. So given that I cannot hear most of the notes..& forget hearing the lyrics…I rely on those vibrations on a whole new level.
I love it when I can stand next to, or better still, in front of a huge loudspeaker and close my eyes to focus on letting the vibrations sweep over me and through me. It’s incredible…and I just get lost in it. And if the music has a good beat…once I feel it…I can’t stop my feet…and just go with it.
Sometimes a singer may be singing way out of my hearing range, yet I know they are good, simply by the way the hairs on my arms and neck react and with a deep emotional, tears-in-my-eyes response. I use music to focus and work with, to uplift my mood, to release emotions that I’m struggling to let go of, to simply dance to..just because.  It has so many benefits but do do we actually hear with our ears…?
According to my hearing specialist, we hear with our brains and it’s interpretation from the whole of our body, not just the ears. The ears are just a single transmitter of some information, but not the whole book. Think of how much harder it is to “hear” since we are prevented from seeing faces by covid masks…so many struggle. And they are not deaf in the least.
As a thought…music is a person’s expression of emotion, of vibrations they are feeling at that moment in time. Maybe there’s something in the picking up of that emotion on a subliminal level in each of us. I still get really emotional at a some songs and I have no idea as to the content of the lyrics…so maybe I’m picking up on the intention of the emotion of the writer. Who knows?
But whatever it is, it works beautifully for me.


Wow! My mind was blown.
So, if this week had a soundtrack, what would it be and why? Leave a reply below to let me know!
Kostas

PS if you are interested to find out more about the effects of music in general -and piano in particular- on our mental health, you are going to love this! My friend Mark Deeks curates a 24 hour event starting today Monday 29th March 8am in the app Clubhouse about this very topic. There are a whole range of interesting speakers throughout the day from various musical backgrounds and levels of expertise. Click here to find out more about joining this free charity event.