Every time you pick up your instrument you are programing your automatic systems (first overlay). Remember your first overlay, automatic systems are a robotic process. They get programed by your actions, not just physical actions, but your mental and emotional processes as well and repeat them.
For example, if you pick up your instrument and on a regular basis and feel anxiety, frustration, apprehension, or any other kind of thought, like happiness or joyful anticipation, they will become what you automatically think about when you go near or touch the instrument. This happens all of the time in life without our instrument but as a part of living. I remember several years ago I walked past an orchestra tuning. I heard the 'A' from the oboe and the typical little note sequences of people tuning their instruments and I felt the excited anticipation come over me like I would have before a rehearsal or a concert. Of course I was just walking by and not even participating. Pavlov's dog, right? That is the way our systems work.
On the blog post, "More Day 1 of the Frequency Bone Summer Music Connection" dated July 21st, I suggested people try putting an addition to their warm up that included going over the reasons they are in music and reconnecting to their love of music and their instrument, before they play a note. The reason being (besides the ones posted) is to encourage the automatic systems to associate themselves with the instrument as a source of joy, musical connection, an inspiring endeavor, personal expression and so forth.
So when our playing goes through a testing time when things do not feel good or we are in a time of change, reconstruction or slump, it is important to feel our love of music that is independent of the instrument and to remind ourselves why we love our own chosen instrument and to be as patient as we can during this passing phase. Not always easy to do! :-)