Stress can really have an impact on your life. It can lead to tension in your relationships, anxiety and depression, muscle tension, and even chronic aches and pains. It can also make it difficult for you to focus and be present in your day-to-day activities.
If you practice ancient wellness techniques like yoga or meditation, you may find that incorporating music into your sessions can boost the stress-relieving effects. It can also help you be more present and improve mindfulness. Listening to music while you practice can help you connect your breathing with your movements, too.
Let’s take a look at exactly what mindfulness is and how combining music with ancient wellness techniques can help you receive more stress-relieving benefits by improving your mindfulness.
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What is Mindfulness?
What exactly is mindfulness? Well, it’s the practice of being in the present moment. You can practice mindfulness anywhere, during any activity simply by eliminating outside distractions and focusing on the experience at hand.
Mindfulness can be used in yoga, meditation, and functional movement training to help you quiet your mind and tune into your body and breathing. It’s important to note that mindfulness isn’t so much about emptying your mind as it is about focusing your thoughts on the current moment.
How Can Music Improve Mindfulness?
If you find the idea of mindfulness challenging or you are brand new to the practice, music can help you calm your mind and stay focused during day-to-day activities. It can also be a powerful tool for staying in the present moment and reducing stress.
Take a moment to think about how music impacts your life. Do you listen to it daily? What kind of music makes you happy? What kind helps you relax… and what kind energizes you? Is there a certain type of music that helps you focus or calm your mind when you’re especially distracted or stressed?
A Simple Exercise for Practicing Mindfulness with Music
Here’s a simple exercise you can use to help you slow down and be in the moment:
- Choose your music: You’re looking for a piece of music that will help you relax and isn’t too distracting. Some people find lyrics distracting so you might want to practice with an instrumental piece at first. It can be familiar or brand new. Experiment with different music to see which songs and types of music help you focus the best.
- Calm your mind: Before you start, take a few moments to simply breathe and calm your mind. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or laying down, ground yourself by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention to how your body feels and note any physical sensations like tension or tightness.
- Listen to the music: Use headphones or earbuds to help you focus on the music and eliminate outside noise. Simply listen to the music without letting anything else distract you. If you’re in a place where you can close your eyes, that can help tune out your surroundings even more.
- Be aware: Be aware of the sound of the instruments or voices, how they shift in volume, and the pace and beat of the music. Pay attention to any sensations in your body as you listen and notice any thoughts or feelings the music brings up. Does it evoke a certain feeling or memory? Let any thoughts drift away and simply focus on the music and the current moment.
- Reflect on the experience: Before you dive back into your daily activities, take a moment to simply breathe and notice any changes in your body, mind, and breathing. Do you feel different than you did at the beginning of the exercise? Are you calmer, more focused, or less stressed? If the piece didn’t evoke the positive feelings you were going for, try something different next time.
Incorporating Music and Ancient Wellness Techniques to Improve Mindfulness
The short mindfulness exercise above is useful for learning how different types of music affect you. You may find that a specific song becomes your go-to when you need to reconnect and increase mindfulness.
You can also incorporate music and ancient wellness techniques to improve your mindfulness and reduce stress even more effectively. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Meditation is one of the most popular ancient wellness techniques for reducing stress and improving mindfulness. Practicing meditation regularly over time can help you learn how to be more mindful in other areas of your life.
When you incorporate music into your meditation practice, you can maximize the positive effects of both. If you’re brand new to meditating, incorporating music can help you focus and relax.
Start with a piece of music that you know will help you relax and calm your mind. Get in a position that’s comfortable for you, close your eyes, and consciously relax your body. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth and focus on the music.
If your mind wanders, redirect it back to the music and the present moment. Your goal is to quiet your inner voice and fully immerse yourself in the present.
Not only can music deepen your meditation practice, but it can also support your yoga practice. Yoga has often been associated with spiritual, instrumental music. Mantras and chants are also popular among yogis.
When incorporating music and yoga to improve mindfulness, your goal is to move with the music and let your practice reflect the energy of the song. Music can help you unify your mind, body, and breathing by improving your focus and helping you tune out distractions.
Functional Movement Training
If you’re looking for something a little more fast-paced, consider combining music and functional movement training. Functional movement training is about training your body for how it was designed to move. Instead of training one muscle group at a time, you build strength holistically by working groups of muscles together.
Functional movement exercises mirror the way your body moves during normal daily activities. Adding music to your sessions can help you focus as you go through the movements. The right piece can also help you stay energized and motivated as you go through the routine.
The Wrap Up
Incorporating music into your daily life can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve mindfulness. Whether you’re working out or practicing an ancient wellness technique, music can be used to improve your focus and strengthen the mind-body connection. We recommend experimenting with different types of music to find songs that evoke the positive effects you’re looking for.