Mindfulness- Listening to Music

Read my post here on why mindfulness is easier than meditation for the ED.  Today, we are going to discuss one of the easiest mindfulness practices you can do.  I call it listening to music.  What is this, you say?  I already listen to music, therefore I do not need to read this blog post.  Well, slow down there, chappie.  There is a difference between playing music in the background while you work and mindfully listening to music.

  • First, find yourself some good music, preferably instrumental, but a song with lyrics is acceptable.  I will not tell you what music is good because it is different for each person.  I will remind you that you are attempting to calm down and slow down your mind.  For me, that is classical music, yoga music, or other slower instrumental music.  If Punk Rock music is what relaxes you, I won’t argue.
  • Next, find a comfortable seat where you can listen to the music selection you have picked.  For this activity you are not multi-tasking.  Put the dishes down, you can wash them later.  If you can’t pump up the volume in your apartment because of your complainy neighbors, put in your headphones, but don’t blast out your eardrums.
  • Set your timer for 10-20 minutes and press play.  This is where the fun begins.  Close your eyes.  Now listen, really listen to the music selection.  Can you pick out different instruments?  Follow one of them.  Listen to the different chords.  If there are lyrics you can pick out different words that you hear and contemplate.  What does the artist mean by that?  What does it mean to you?  What feelings does this track bring up?  Sometimes you can visualize the music and that is fine, too.
  • Every time your brain takes you off into a story about something other than this present piece of music.  Refocus.  I like to acknowledge that I have been thinking about something else.  I say to myself, “thank you” or “thinking” and go back to the music selection.  Until your timer goes off, this is all you do.  Listen to the music.  Catch yourself wandering and go back to the music.  Do your best not to get angry or frustrated that your mind wanders.  Advanced yogis will have thoughts come to mind that distract them, so give yourself a break.  Just practice.  Go back to the music.

What is your favorite piece of music to listen to?  Did you try this technique?  Share your experience below!

Author: Mary Preston, LMFT

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Life Coach. Through dealing with my own anxiety and attention difficulties over the years I have discovered many useful practices and tools to help regain focus, shift my attention to what’s important and to stay organized enough to get the life that I want. In my practice I work primarily with women and children with Anxiety, ADHD and Depression and I share what I’ve learned to get them back on track to living a full, purpose filled life.

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