The year’s 2007. RiRi’s songs are playing on your iPod. You are probably dancing to ‘Don’t Stop the Music.’ The lyrics say Let’s escape into the music and you do. You probably did not realize but it was the music’s magic working on you.
Music has soothing powers. In fact, many therapists and doctors now rely on music therapy to drag their patients out of the states of stress, depression, and anxiety. And if you thought of music as no more than a club or a road-trip buddy, you are in for a surprise. Because music has the ability to make you feel happy, relaxed and high. It can take you to another world without you physically being present in that imaginary world. The state of euphoria that music drives one into is beyond my scope of explanation. Unless you experience it for yourself, you cannot be familiarized with the state it takes you in. I was introduced to the concept of music therapy when a friend’s mother was undergoing chemotherapy and her doctor prescribed her to visit a music therapist. My friend shared with me what it was like to see her mother suffer and how mindful listening to music helped relieve her stress for some time. She even subscribed to Spectrum customer support so that her mother could access music whenever she wanted. Such is the power of music.
Say Hello to Mindfulness!
Before I start, I would like to introduce you to the concept of mindfulness. The word simply means to be in the present moment. It does not imply that you have an empty mind. It rather means you noticing whatever thoughts you have in it in that particular moment. Mindfulness can be practiced without music as well but the addition of music helps you to stay focused and is recommended. In fact, music is believed to be a powerful tool when it comes to experiencing the present moment.
However, following are the ingredients that make for a perfect recipe for mindful music listening.
While many of us are proud multi-taskers, it is recommended that you put this trait to sleep when listening to music to relieve stress. If you are putting up an Instagram post or keeping a count of your followers on Twitter while listening to music, I am afraid you won’t achieve what you wished to out of this activity. I am asking you to do nothing but to listen to the music for the length of the time it plays.
A Comfortable Place:
It is very important that the place you have chosen to listen to the music at is comfortable. When I say the word comfortable, I not only mean the physical comfort (a very foamy couch would be a perfect candidate) but the ambiance as well. Elaborating on it further, I am referring to a place that pleases your eyes, is clean, quiet and smells of roses maybe! Because you might not realize but what you see, smell and hear are just as vital as what you feel.
Assign a particular time of the day to carry out this activity and while you are at it, keep the distractions to a bare minimum. Close all the windows on your laptop (it is preferable that you keep your laptop away), put your phone on airplane mode (so your boss cannot disturb you) and tell your siblings to restrict themselves to their own rooms for some time. Trust me when I say this is not the time that you would want to share with anyone but yourself. You will thank me later.
Feed that Tummy:
It may sound irrelevant or funny, but having a full stomach is just as important as anything else is. If you have fed on a sufficient amount of meal before listening to music, hunger pangs will not bother you in between the sessions. However, if you know that the music session will be a long one, feel free to carry some snacks with you before you lock yourself away. It is very important that you do not feel hungry or thirsty while you are treating your soul with some mindfulness.
Breathe and Relax:
If it was not for breathing, we would not be alive. What I mean by breathing here is taking deep breaths. The exercise of conscious inhaling and exhaling where one takes deep breaths helps you relax and release stress. And while you are at it, notice how your body responds/moves to the beat of the music. Whether you are sitting, laying, walking or standing, notice the structures your body is in touch with, and sensations that it feels.
While listening to the music and even after it, notice the way your body responds to the rhythms and the beats. See if your body felt any calmer after listening to that piece. If it did not, you might want to shift to a different form of music. Take out time to digest the whole experience by letting the sensation of the music sink in.
Once you have gathered all the above ingredients, you are in for an intense mindfulness lesson. Oh, I forgot to mention the major ingredient- an uninterrupted internet or cable connection. If you have subscribed to Charter Double Play, you will not be disappointed. Enjoy a happy session reflecting upon your soul!