Tips to avoid problem gambling

problem gambling imageIn order to fully grasp how best we can avoid a gambling problem it is important to understand the motivations behind problem gambling.  Research has shown that there are many motivational factors that cause problem gambling.  If you have a gambling problem, please think about which of these factors applies to you.

  1. Control – Control is a factor that involves the problem gambler falsely believing that he or she has designed a system to consistently win.
  2. Prophecy – Prophecy is a factor involving the gambler believing that luck will see him or her through a winning streak at the time he or she gambles.
  3. Uninformed – Being uninformed is when the gambler has a false belief that he or she can consistently make money from gambling.
  4. Good feelings – This is when the gambler goes to the casino or gambling venue to escape from his depression and leave his or her problems at home.  Good feelings can also arise at the very moment a bet is made due to the thrill and adrenaline rush that comes with the associated possibility of winning albeit low that it is.
  5. Relaxation – This involves the gambler feeling that he or she is relaxed at the gaming venue, thereby alleviating his or her anxieties and worries.
  6. Boredom – This is a very common motivating factor for gambling. The gambler is short of things to do and will go to the gambling venue to pass the time.  Given that casino and betting outlets are often windowless; full of flashing lights; have constant winning noises; and are commonly without wall clocks, the room set up is designed to enable the gambler to lose track of time which is a palatable recipe to entertain boredom.
  7. Numbness – Some people resort to gambling to disconnect from emotion thereby letting the slot machines and the like, absorb their thoughts and feelings. It is as though this gambler does not want to confront his or her problems and gambling assists in escaping every-day problems and difficulties of life.
  8. Oasis – This involves gambling as a means of escaping the demands of others. For example, many gambling addicts believe that time spent at the casino is a great way to forget about difficult people at work.
  9. Transition – Uncertainty about future changes is a common motivation for problem gambling as we forget about our transition anxieties whilst we are at the gambling venue.
  10. Desperation – This involves the gambler who is either trying to win back losses or is desperately trying to accumulate some winnings in order to pay for a debt or bill.
  11. Mischief – This involves gambling in an attempt to rebel against incidents which are unrelated to the gambling itself.  For instance, if the boss at work was mean to the employee, the employee will indirectly rebel through self-harm practices at the gambling table.
  12. Winner – Some believe that gambling activity increases their reputation as a winner when in reality the odds of winning do not stake that claim.
  13. Entrenchment – There are those gamblers who have become so accustomed to problem gambling that they believe they are a lost cause that is beyond help. There form of entrenchment can be so high that they will say things like ‘Anti-gambling adds are only targeted towards non-gamblers.’
  14. Harm to self – Some problem gamblers will gamble out of a desire to do self-harm. Such gamblers are often lacking in self-esteem and self-confidence.
  15. Shyness – Some problem gamblers are shy during social interactions and therefore they feel satisfied being exposed to people with little or no interaction in a gambling venue.
  16. Friendship – Some problem gamblers go to the gambling venues to have a social interaction with their fellow problem gamblers or people they know at the casino. There are so many other ways to secure friendships with-out subjecting oneself to lose money at a gambling venue.

If you are a problem gambler and wish to have therapy with me, I will explore and unpack the motivating factors which cause you to gamble, with a view towards helping you understand and take control of your gambling problem.  Should you wish to make an appointment with me I can be contacted on 0418 122 932 or you may send and email to

What is music performance anxiety?

Music performance anxiety is when the performer is in a state of worry and panic when it comes to making a musical performance and in some cases, it can be to the detriment of a musical performance.

What is stage fright?

Stage fright is when a performer suffers from fear and anxiety about an audience’s presence and reaction towards the performer conducting his or her work on stage.
The 5 steps to beating music performance anxiety

  1. Try and establish a sense of flow in a performance so that the performer is music making at an optimal level that is within his comfort zone.
  2. View performances as a challenge rather than a threat.
  3. View performing as a joy rather than a job
  4. Make sure there is adequate time to practice and prepare.
  5. Make sure practice routines are optimally utilized

What are the symptoms of music performance anxiety?

Physical symptoms include body twitching, lack of proper sleep routines, fatigue, fast breathing, body tensing, and in some cases, panic attacks. Behavioural symptoms related to performance anxiety can be either over practicing or under practicing, addiction and substance abuse, stress, and inefficient usage of practice times.
What are the causes of stage fright / performance anxiety?

  • Lack of flow in music making. Flow in this sense involves playing at your optimal levels to ensure performing is within your comfort zone.
  • Lack of positive self-talk and self-confidence.
  • Being over or under prepared.
  • Having doubts about your ability to shape the music the way you need and want it to go.

Mistakes people make when dealing with performance anxiety and stage fright

  • Common mistakes include over rehearsing.
  • Not being able to break up the music into smaller sections when practicing.
  • Not being able to reap enjoyment and reward from music making
  • Viewing music making as a job rather than a joy.
  • Seeing the performance as a threat rather than a challenge

Tips to help with performance anxiety

  • Creating flow or optimal performance utilisation when music making in order to maintain a constant feeling of being within your comfort zone.
  • Having adequate sleep and exercising routines.
  • Setting the right amount of time for practicing.
  • Going over difficult bits in isolation to the rest of the piece.
  • Breaking up the piece into smaller components so that there is adequate attention to detail throughout the whole piece.
  • Seeing music making as a joy rather than a job and a challenge rather than a threat

Living with performance anxiety

If performance anxiety is a longer term problem seeking help from mental health care professionals can be the best way of minimising its affects.   Seeing mental health care professionals who also have a musical background can be advantageous as their musical performing experiences will help with the therapeutic services they provide.

Mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapies are commonly practiced when dealing with music performance anxiety in a therapeutic setting. Mindfulness tends to focus on the here and now thereby reducing stress, whilst acceptance and commitment therapy tends to focus on relevant and realistic actions and behaviours that we can commit too.
How does performance anxiety affect the voice?

Performance anxiety has been known to increase body tension.  When singing, body tension in the jaw, neck, tongue or breathing apparatus can severely affect the quality and endurance level of the sound.