I listen to music every single day, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. So much can be gained from having music as part of your life; it goes hand in hand with emotion, creativity, presence, gratitude and ultimately, of course, mindfulness.
Whether creating it, listening to it or talking about it, music has been, and is, many things to me. It has catalysed some of my best ideas and connected me to some of my most treasured memories. It has healed pains, brought people together and bestowed joy to others. Oddly, for me anyway, music is generally considered to be frivolous. I believe it is more than that. It is a significant contributor to a life full of mindfulness, understanding, community and happiness.
Let’s have a look at how incorporating music into your life improves your emotional intelligence, wellbeing and relationship with mindfulness.
Music can be applied in a number of ways to help you focus. Of course, if you play an instrument, the action of concentrating on playing a piece of music embraces the simplicity and concept of mindfulness.
Playing music in the background whilst trying to complete other tasks is also very helpful. If you are anything like me, then you may find that time spent working in a silent environment is much less productive than time spent in an environment that includes audio stimulation. Classical music is considered to be very good for this, but any ‘easy listening’ material does the job well. It is said that music with a tempo of around 60bpm (beats per minute) is ideal for your brain to run at optimum efficiency.
I also find that music is a wonderful tool for silencing excess noise competing for attention in my head. It is very good at elevating the stress created by the many concerns one might have on any given day. Engaging with a favourite track can really help to declutter the mind and focus on the task currently in hand.
If you are in the habit of creating your own music, the you will be used to engaging with the creative part of your brain. However, you don’t have to make music to nurture your creative thinking. Listening to music has been proven to encourage your brain to process in this way. We all have different tastes, but the likelihood is that there is something out there that inspires you, pulls on your heart strings or unlocks your eureka moments! We also know that your creativity is improved when you are in a good mood… there is no faster way to do this than popping your favourite song on.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of going for a run without music is not a fun prospect. Very often, the key to doing the things that will enhance our wellbeing, or offer opportunities for mindfulness, is simply getting started. Getting off the sofa or getting out of the door can sometimes be a hurdle. Put your favourite song on and crank up the volume, that’ll get you going!
Not only does music motivate, but it can help you to push through and get you closer to reaching your potential. If I am on a run, the beat of my music makes for a faster and more comfortable run than I could achieve without it. It also acts as a natural pacemaker, which I like, as it gives me more opportunities to enjoy my surroundings and make my run an experience of presence and mindfulness.
4. Cognitive Functionality
Nothing is as helpful to the practice of mindfulness than a healthy brain. There have been countless studies to suggest that including music as a regular part of your sensory diet has cognitive benefits. It can significantly reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. These symptoms include high blood pressure, increased heart rate and feelings of depression. It is also linked to the creation of memory.
The enjoyment of music also releases dopamine into your system. This has been tied to cognitive reparation, motivation, learning and memory.
By Chris Thomson
If you are interested in creative ways to practice mindfulness, you might want to take a look at this: Use Your Hands: A Tactile Approach To Mindfulness
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