Music Therapy: A Form of Meditation

As you probably have heard, noticed, and felt, there have been a lot of negative things around us lately. This is the best time (silver lining) to learn ways to take care of ourselves, others, and cope with stress that can feel inevitable at times. Even when times get better and we have nothing to be upset about, we can always utilize effective coping mechanisms when life decides to throw us a curve ball..so let’s put them into practice now.

One thing I’ve thought about lately is the power of music. No, i’m not some fancy musician who can wake up and write the perfect Grammy-winning song at 4 AM, nor do I play an instrument and understand the deep inner workings of what a treble clef is. I have, however, used music as a form of therapy for as long as I can remember and have found it works wonders for calming the mind and lifting the spirit. Many of us use music as a way to avert boredom or kill time when we’re commuting to/from work, sitting on a plane, trying to not look lame when we’re waiting for someone to show up, etc, but not many of us realize the power music has on our well being.

How many times have you used music as a form of meditation? Meditation doesn’t need to involve being completely quiet, but can simply be a way to slow down your thoughts. (P.S. It’s a myth that meditation removes your thoughts completely. There is no biological/psychological way for thoughts to completely go away. They will always be there (for good reason!), but meditation can help slow down thought intervals.)

For my fellow science-ers that like some sort of data before trying anything, there was a study led by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson at the Mindlab International in the UK that found listening to this song lowered anxiety by 65% in 40 participating women (just checked, the YouTube link has had a whopping  15,130,878 views! Now, that’s a lot of views). So what is so special about the song? A sound therapist at the British Academy of Sound Therapy, explained how the song affects the body:

“[The song] contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat.”

Anyone with a heart rate monitor want to test this out? Please let me know if you do!

The Mindlab International also recommends listening to these following songs as well:

We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)

Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart

Someone Like You,” by Adele

Pure Shores,” by All Saints

Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona

Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay

Watermark,” by Enya

Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah

Electra,” by Airstream

One thing I like to do when listening to music, especially when stressed, is to really focus on the beats and melody of the song if it’s instrumental. If there are lyrics, I try to focus and listen to the words (which is why it’d be effective to listen to positive lyrics, if possible, if you plan on using the song as a way to relax). Music has lately been a form of meditation to me because when I put on a song I like, or one that is calming, I find that I stop thinking about what is making me stressed and instead use the song as a focal point to redirect my thoughts.

Start taking note of songs you hear that instantly put you into a good mood and make a list of them. I’ve started either writing them down or taking a mental note of songs that instantly make me smile, feel calm, and/or want to dance.  Here are some songs/music artists I personally enjoy:

1. Like video games? Listen to the Triforce Quartet, the music is so soothing and you can also nerd out to the theme songs from your favorite video games.

2. Lindsey Stirling is my spirit animal. How many people do you know rock out to a violin, dance beautifully, all while to the beat of electronic dance music? This girl can!

3. I recently heard Run-Around by Blues Traveler when driving and instantly felt some joy, there’s something about the beat of the song.

Can you think of any tunes that make the blues go away? Go listen to them when you get a chance! 🙂

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Author: Mind and Biology

Bringing you a summary of important scientific discoveries in the fields of biology and psychology.

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