Have you ever heard a song and were immediately transcended back to a memory of a happier time?
It seems everyone has a connection to music; a compilation of synergy, sounds and instruments that evoke emotion.
Can music be healing?
A quick search and you will find anecdotal evidence from music therapists that suggests the sound of music:
- Manages pain
- Improves mood and mobility of people with Parkinson’s disease
- Reduces the need for sedatives and pain relievers during and after surgery
- Decreases nausea during chemotherapy
- Helps patients participate in medical treatment that shortens hospital stays
- Relieves anxiety
- Lowers blood pressure
- Eases depression
- Enhances concentration and creativity
Wow! The best part is that to take advantage of music’s healing power, you don’t need to take a prescription to your local music store. You don’t even have to go to the music store! The remedies you need are at your fingertips. The key just might be to find music that is familiar and induces memories and feelings you desire to feel. Create your own musical “prescription”.
If you feel stuck in a blue mood, try this approach:
Best Music: Upbeat, energetic, rhythmic selections
Examples: Depending on your preference, this might mean foot tapping to a big band number like Louis Armstrong’s “Sunny side of the street,” a fast moving concerto, or a cheerful Beatles tune.
Listening Strategy: While the music plays, attune to how your body wants to move…maybe a gentle sway, some tapping on the counter. Keep your movements light and flowing. Breathe. With each new phrase, find a new way to move. Then, gently come to rest when the music ends.
If you feel anxious, try this approach:
Best Music: To free your mind and distract yourself, find music that deeply focuses your attention. The music has to grab it and, at the same time, relax your body.
Examples: Slow music, a love song, a ballad sung by a classic like Frank Sinatra or Norah Jones, or even a calm instrumental piece (I like to play acoustic love songs).
Listening Strategy: Sit or lie down in a position that is comfortable, in a location without distraction. After simply listening for a few minutes, add an exercise for further relaxation: Start at your feet, gently tighten then relax your muscles. Work your way up to the crown of your head. Inhale for 3, exhale for 3. Repeat.
The Great news?! You can apply this approach to any mood! Create playlists and practice this skill when you identify a strong emotion or want to feel something differently.
What’s on your playlist?