The Kama Dutra (Phil's Favorite Positions)

New Youtube Video Of Ocean Wave Sounds!  

If you're like me, you have had some trouble falling asleep. Your mind races while you're lying in bed, going over your day or thinking about tomorrow. Before you know it, it's 1:00 AM and you're wide awake! 

I've been there too! So, I decided to create a video of wave sounds on Youtube. The repeating rhythm of crashing waves can be deeply calming, creating a mental state of relaxation, contentment and gentle focus! Ocean waves may help with insomnia and restlessness! 

The video is one hour long and contains visuals and sounds of ocean waves. 

Listen to the video when you lie down to go to sleep. Keep the volume fairly low and see if this helps you to get to sleep faster. Let me know if this helps. I would love your feedback. 

You can save the video on Youtube to find it more easily each night. Please share it with your friends and family if you find it useful. I would love to know if it helps!

 

Managing Your Mental Health During COVID 

As most of you know, I have struggled with anxiety through most of my life. This was the case through my childhood, my teens and into my mid 30s. It was only then that I recognized that it was a major problem in my life and got the help that I needed. Anxiety triggers do still occur for me but I now have the tools I need to successfully deal with them. The quality of my life has improved dramatically, since I got the help I needed. 

Over the last year, with the COVID pandemic shutting down the Country and seriously damaging the economy, many of us have struggled with unemployment, overdue bills and increased stress due to isolation from the people we love. This has taken its toll on so many people's mental health. Experts have made many recommendations on how to handle this added stress and I have, myself, been doing many of the things they suggest. Here is a list of some of the tools recommended. I hope you take the time to review and incorporate some of them into your life! 

Meditation 

The popularity of meditation has skyrocketed in the Western World. Many scientific studies, showing the vast physical and mental benefits of meditation, have taken the practice outside of the spiritual realm and into a science based practice. I use meditation for both. If you’re new to it, you can find all kinds of help online and with easy to use mediation apps. They include both guided and non-guided sessions. You can track your progress and try many methods. I personally prefer mindfulness meditation, where you focus on your breath going in and out. I’m sure you can find what is best for you. 

Eating Healthy 

I know. This one always seems to be a challenge for many of us! For me, taking small steps can make a big difference. Adding a few fruits and vegetable to your diet goes a long way. Staying away from over-processed foods can improve your health dramatically. Cutting down on excess caffeine and alcohol is a good move to calm you down and improve your outlook. I have seriously decreased my alcohol intake, which has led to me losing 10 pounds over the last 2 months. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my red wine and Manhattans!! Now, I allow myself only one drink per evening, if that. You too can slowly reduce your consumption of both. 

Practicing Gratitude 

This one thing has literally transformed my life. I have made it a habit to acknowledge all that I am grateful for when I wake up when I go to bed and all throughout the day. Focusing on what you are grateful for makes your outlook on your life improve greatly!! I can’t recommend this enough!! Like meditation, many studies show that focusing on gratitude changes how your brain functions and decreases anxiety and depression. I even started a gratitude page on my website. If you want to share what you are grateful for, you can do so here. This is a private page for my supporters only, to share their gratitude. You will need to register and log in. Reach out to me if you need help. Whether or not your choose to share to my page, I highly recommend this practice!! 

Coloring 

This is the most recent trend in mental health and yes, it works. Coloring in coloring books utilizes areas of the brain that enhance focus and concentration. The more complex the item being colored and the more colors used increases the effectiveness on alleviating anxiety, depression, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), eating disorders and a host of other issues. Who would have thought a holdover from our childhoods could be so beneficial?!! I have started doing this and it has been so helpful I gathered a collection of Mandala files into a PDF booklet and made it available on ETSY! I print one page at a time and take a few nights to color the complex designs while I’m watching TV. If you would like to try it yourself, you can see my PDF booklet here. Each page has a mandala design and an inspirational quote to lift your spirits. 

I hope that you are holding up well during these trying times and I hope you try at least one of the practices above to improve your mental health!! Know that I am rooting for you!!

My Life, My Anxiety And My Music! 

If there are 2 things that have been a constant in my life, they are my love of music and my struggle to overcome anxiety. I was born into a very loving Portuguese immigrant home, the youngest of four children. And, my parents were very excited to have a son after 3 daughters. It’s not that they didn’t want girls, but my father was thrilled to have someone to carry on the family name. 

I excelled in elementary school, reading at a 4th grade level in the 1st grade and I was a friendly and popular kid. But, I was always “on edge”. I don’t know how else to explain it. It felt as if I was going to be “found out”. About what, I didn’t know. There was no trauma. No abuse. Only happy memories with a huge extended family. Yet I felt stalked by an undefinable fear of something. Maybe fear isn’t the right word. Perhaps unease is better. Yeah, unease. But, for what? 

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Sleep Effect on Anxiety and Depression 

I woke up feeling great today! I had a really good night sleep and I even woke up before my alarm went off! This is a very rare occasion! 

That is because I have General Anxiety Disorder and I usually wake up several times each night. I know what it's like to feel down, with little energy because of a bad night of sleep. The "catch-22 is my anxiety causes me to not sleep well and not sleeping well aggravates my anxiety! 

I came across this Harvard Medical School article about this very subject and I found it quite interesting. 

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The story behind the song “For The Last Time” 

 

This song is my best attempt at writing a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song. “Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head” has always been one of my favorite songs and that is what inspired “For The last Time”. It is about addictions. Specifically, being addicted to another person. Sure, the song mentions drinking but the true addiction comes in the opening lyrics of the bridge. “Standing alone by the window, waiting for you to get me high” shows how much the singer is hooked on the object of their affection. They become an affliction that needs to be abandoned in order to truly recover. I love the optimism of both the lyrics and the bouncy rhythm of the recording. It is a song of triumph over struggle. It can be about overcoming any addiction or adversity. 

When I originally wrote the song, it had a mellow “Raindrops” groove to it. Then, in the studio, my producer Scott Patton (Sugarland) had me punched up the rhythm guitar strumming and gave the song a much needed bounce. One of my favorite parts of the recording is Scott’s guitar solo, which comes across as both cheerful and melancholy. It’s my go to song to start a show because of the upbeat feel and singable melody.

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Another “Artist” stole my music! And, what I did to get it back! 

If you don’t know who I am, you’re not alone.  My name is Phil Dutra. I am an Austin, TX based Singer/Songwriter with 2 CDs and a digital single on all the music streaming services including Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music. I used a great DIY distributor named CD Baby to get them online. To be perfectly honest, my stats, both streaming and downloads, have been lame at best. Granted, 3 of my songs have been “watched” on youtube, where they have received over 20,000 views each. That’s due to them being played in Supermarkets and drugstores all over the country and people searching online to find them. But, that’s the most exposure my songs have received. People hearing my tunes, interrupted by “clean up on aisle 12”. Let’s just say my marketing degree from NYU has not been utilized to its full potential. In other words, I suck at self-promotion.

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The Day Donald Trump Fired Me! 

O.K. That may be a slight stretch but hear me out. 

Back in my days as an undergraduate at NYU, I started an A-Capella group with my buddies Brian, Greg, Chris and Wayne. We sang mostly in Washington Square Park under the arch. The acoustics there are amazing. We would sing doo-wop and modern songs, pass around the bucket on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and make a few hundred bucks. Not a bad take for five poor students. 

This was the late eighties in Manhattan. It was the decade of greed in the financial capital of the world. We were doing our best to get our piece of the pie with the vocal talents we possessed. 

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The Story Behind The Song: “Feel This Way” 

This song started with the chord walk down of the bridge. I was fiddling around with my guitar and came up with a melody for that part of the song as well as the line about time not being on my side. That’s a pretty pessimistic view for the young guy I was when I wrote this. But, I know it fit how I was feeling at the time. 

I have always lived with a very high level of anxiety. The endless “what ifs” and over-thinking of every perceived threat was taking its emotional toll and I was trying anything to relieve the anxiety, including meditation. It was also a time when I was letting go of organized religion and the judgement that I felt growing up gay. This song is about the frustration of the very slow progress I was making. 

Even after all these years, I still deal with anxiety but I recognize the “triggers” better and I have better tools to deal with it and minimize its impact. It will always be with me but I no longer feel the despair that inspired this song.

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Happy New Year!! Plans? 

 

Are you generative or reactive to opportunities? I have, for the most part been reactive. I believe that I have been fairly successful in how I have reacted to those opportunities by saying yes or no. I trust my gut in those situations but I am acknowledging that I need to be much more proactive in creating opportunities, rather than just waiting for them to present themselves. My commitment to my success is to set achievable goals and develop plans to achieve those goals. By creating those intentions, I can hold myself accountable and celebrate my achievements. On the flip side, I can acknowledge my shortcomings and recalibrate to ultimately succeed!

 

ARE YOU FEELING GENEROUS? YOU CAN DONATE TO HELP ME CONTINUE CREATING MUSIC FOR YOU!! CLICK THE DONATE BUTTON BELOW! THANKS!!