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Soulful June: How music promotes mindfulness

June 22, 2018

Soulful June: How music promotes mindfulness

“Music... will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” 
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Our happiest moments in life are accompanied by the blissful sounds of music. Music lift us up to a complete state of joy, we relate to its lyrics, and we experience it with our entire being. It reaches into our soul and affects us. Music changes our mood, takes us to places we've never been before, and sharpens our thoughts. Music is a positive form of expression, it helps social interactions, and it improves mental health and quality of life.

Unfortunately, with all the distractions of everyday life, we find ourselves having fewer of those magical music moments. But don’t worry because it's not too late to start practicing music mindfulness. To become fully aware of the present moment, and to open ourselves to the emotional experience of listening. 

Here's a couple of ways to listen to music more mindfully:

  • Scan your room and clean up the excess noise. Turn off electronics like your TV, radio, and phone and put on a good set of headphones. Studies show that headphones can reduce muscle tension and stress, promote better sleep, and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Clear your schedule and make time to listen to music. Let everyone know you're busy. Make the room your own private concert hall. Take lightening, air circulation, and cleanliness into consideration. Maybe add a few scented candles for a more delightful ambiance.
  • Sit or lay down in a comfortable position and pay attention to the music. Think about people composing the music, writing its lyrics, and recording.
  • Breathe deeply and relax into the sensations of your body breathing. Bring your attention to the sensations of the sounds of music and how you feel as the melody continues. Listen with your heart, consciously experience the music, and let the notes reach in and touch you.
  • If your attention wanders, take a few deep breaths and kindly remind yourself to return your attention to the sensations of the music.
  • After the song(s) is finished, thank yourself for taking the time to listen. Take a few minutes to think about the experience. You can do this by practicing a breathing meditation or just relaxing. You can also write down the experience in a journal if you’d like.
  • Don’t forget to do daily breathing meditations as an essential practice, and to use other exercises as an addition.

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