Music is arguably one of the best non prescription medications in the world. We identify with the sounds, the words, the tempos. Music speaks a language that is recognized from the very cellular makeup of our being. We listen for what we like in music. Often, we escape. Music is listened to most often as a whole, rather than for its individual parts. The brain is relatively lazy, not paying attention to what it doesn’t have to. However, bringing mindfulness into music listening can create a whole new experience.
Here are some tips for mindful music listening
- Dedicate time to truly listen to one of your favorite songs. Treat the few minutes like a meditation. Find a comfortable position that isn’t too relaxed or too rigid. However, laying on your back and looking out is a universal position for intensive music listening.
- Settle into your position and begin to breathe. Breathe naturally at first as you begin to notice your physical being. Are you feeling tension anywhere in your body? Focus on that area and try to let the tension go.
- Start mindfully breathing. Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and exhale for a count of eight. Shift your focus onto you breath. After a few moments, shift your focus to your internal being. Notice your thoughts. Is your mind busy, stress, worried, depressed, anxious? Just notice where you are mentally and allow your brain to settle down. Shift the focus back to your breath. Press play on your favorite song.
- As the song starts, notice if you think about your personal memories associated with the song. Rather than focus on your experience of the song, imagine the songwriters, or how others might have experienced the song.
- Notice the introduction to the song. Is it slow and subtle or loud and urgent?
- Pay attention to how parts of the song make you feel. Is it the melody, the way the song sounds, or is it the words?
- Notice if you are anticipating a certain part of the song. Do you feel you pay attention to the rest of the song in the same way when you are anticipating one part in particular? This is a metaphor for life. We attach and crave one particular thing. With all our focus on the future, we miss out on what’s happening in the present.
- As the song continues, pay attention to how you feel in your body. Does the music excite you? Relax you? Make you feel centered and at peace?
- Finally, visualize the music notes of the song dancing along your breath. The music comes in and out of you with every repetition of breath.
- After the song ends, spend another minute in mindful breath. Slowly, move your fingers and toes, bring yourself back to the present moment.
Avalon By The Sea incorporates the evidence based practice of mindfulness to our treatment programs for mental health, substance use, and dual diagnosis disorders. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call 1 (888) 958-7511 today.