Gary McClain, PhD, is a therapist, patient advocate, and writer who specializes in helping clients—as well as their family members and professional caregivers—deal with the emotional impact of chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
One of the best ways to rescue yourself from all of those competing thoughts bang-banging around inside of your head—and to bring yourself safely into the present moment—is with music.
You’ve probably heard all the old sayings about music. Here are a couple that are especially relevant to mindfulness:
“Music soothes the savage beast.”
Like maybe all that stress you’ve been carrying around.
And, “music is the language of the soul.”
If you listen closely enough to hear what your soul has to say to you.
So give it a try. Here’s how to get started:
Find a place where you can have some uninterrupted time, even if only for a few minutes.
Put on some music that you enjoy. You may find that it’s easier to focus on the music if you choose music without lyrics, and that’s not going to make you want to get up and dance. Classical, soft jazz, or “New Age.” This is a great time to introduce yourself to something new.
Sit in a relaxed position in a comfortable chair. You may not want to lie down, unless you want to relax into a nap.
As you listen to the music, see what’s it’s like to really concentrate on it. Notice the variations in tone, when it gets louder or softer, the instruments that you recognize or don’t recognize, the melody. And as you do, also be aware of the feelings that the music brings up in you—sadness, anger, happiness. Let yourself feel those feelings without judging yourself.
Get lost in the sound. Listen. Let the music speak to you.
Enjoy this moment!