The Way of Music: Improving the Moment with Sounds.

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You wake up after a restless night of hearing the sound of your voice, the inner judge, chirping crickets, thunder and rain. You walk outside and you can here the chirping of birds, children playing on the sidewalk and the sound of cars, the sound of movement. You forget about the twisting and turning during the night and resume your day.

I am not a music therapist, nor do I have enough information about how music therapy can be effective but I can describe how music over the years has has an impact on mental health. Music, time and time again, has helped shape political movements, cross boundaries created by racism and has shaped its way in and out of culture. The blues which seems to be a paradoy of one’s depression sheds light to a difficult situation. Country music, a way of dealing with the difficult times of working in the South under the hot sun. Rap/hip-hop- a need to express the African American culture in a way that originally was based on rhythm and poetry to express the anger of systematic and culture racism. Punk rock- anger at government, the rules and the political climate. And Pop music , a celebration of freedom and happiness.

Of course those are all of my own opinions, but if we are to ever say that listening to AC/DC or Ozzy Osbourne’s ” Suicide Solution” led to deaths or suicide, can’t we also have a discussion how those same artist have helped others feel a sense of belonging?  Imagine you don’t play sports but you can relate to the captain of the soccer team by his taste in music and talk about music the way he talks about the World Cup.

Unfortunately, this is not an entry about what sounds or songs to listen to when you are feeling depressed or angry. My personal list would be too long and I truly believe music is that one thing that is subjective. I might like rap and country and you might be the one out of many who say “I listen to everything except rap and country.”

Is the speed of sound quicker than the speed of thought?  I don’t know, but the next time you have trouble falling asleep listen to the noises outside of your inner speech  and see what happens. There is a category of “break-up songs” for a reason.

I will leave you with this. There was a study done in China for pregnant women on bed rest during times when CDs were being used. To summarize (the link is below), the pregnant women who listened to the music seemed to have an easier time, got off bed rest, and reported a decrease in depression.  I don’t know the evidence behind it but as a therapist and a musican I believe in both as tools to help heal.

The link:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.researchgate.net/publication/26773691_Music_Therapy_To_Relieve_Anxiety_In_Pregnant_Women_On_Bedrest/amp

 

By Noah Goldberg, RSWI, MSW

Regroup and Refocus: Managing Anxiety Through Mindfulness

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I’d like you to try something. I want you to feel your anxiety, the train of thoughts , the hamster on the wheel, the fear, that overwhelming pressure of stress.

Ok, now I’d like you accept it without judgement. This is the hard part.

How is this helpful? What is the point? Did a therapist really just tell me to be anxious?

Well, acknowledgement of your feelings can allow you to regroup and refocus, to better react. Our amygdala is about the size of pea, and it’s responsible for all those things that keep us up all night, going over the lists of what was wrong and what was right. But, if we can take the time and step outside of the abstract picture of thought and see the frame, we can better see the painting.

I have been a drummer for about 17 years. Occasionally, in my new band ( no this isn’t self promotion) I need to play a drum solo. It can be nerve racking and stressful , especially in the middle of an intense show where I am drenched in sweat. Benny Greb, a drummer once said: ” If you can step outside that zone, the zone of thought , and regroup and refocus yourself , you can perform better because you are not on autopilot mode.”

So the next time you are feeling anxious, the next time life hands you a drum solo of anxiety, take the time to regroup and refocus. Mindfulness, isn’t just some new age meditation. Through controlled breathing , visualizing with hope and slowing your thoughts down, you can control how you want to approach a situation at work, at home or on stage.

Leisure

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Irritability is the sign that alarms the mind it is time to allow the body to play. The more rigid a regimen someone adopts the more they should engage in leisure. Sometimes concluding a period of study or work with telling jokes, dancing, or eating sweets is the best way to avoid misery. This is simply the way of achieving balance.

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