Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness Through Music
Listening to music is a great coping technique for many teens and adults. We all have our favorite songs, and just as a lullaby can calm a frightened baby, one of our favorite tunes can instantly bring us a moment of peace, calming our minds and bodies. Sometimes, though, we are too agitated to just let music calm us down. It can help to listen more deeply, more mindfully to the music, and allow its effects to calm us.
Mindfulness Practice: Mindfulness and Music
- Find a quiet space to listen to your stereo, or better yet, put on headphones.
- Make yourself comfortable lying down or sitting in an upright yet relaxed position. Make sure your clothing is comfortable and you feel warm enough.
- Take a few breaths and allow your body and mind to settle.
- There are a few ways to bring your deliberate attention to the music. One way to start is to pick a single instrument or sound to follow through the song. Listening like this can be quite soothing, as it narrows your attention, moving it away from difficult subjects. Experiment with listening to the other instruments, and see how many different sounds and tracks you can trace throughout the length of the song. You may be surprised at how much you notice.
What did you notice when following just one instrument?
A second way of listening in a mindful manner is by listening with your body. Get comfortable, and pay attention to the sensations in your body as the sounds of the song resonate through your body. It can be amazing to see how our bodies receive and respond to music as it lands and ripples through us.
What sensations did you become aware of in your body?
What, if anything, surprised you or interested you?
The last way I suggest listening to music is by focusing on the body, then tracking your reactions through the song. Notice what happens automatically: emotions, memories, thoughts, or associations. As each come up, simply notice it, name it, and return to noticing.
What emotions did you notice?
What other thoughts or associations?