World Music Day – The benefits of Mindfully listening to Music!

Listening to Music

The benefits of mindfulness are becoming increasingly more evident nowadays. With the NHS recognising its benefits, and studies showing its positive impact on treating depression, anxiety and chronic pain, it seems like we could all gain from being more aware of the present moment.

People who benefit from mindfulness do so by building it into their everyday routine. From mindful movement to mindful eating, developing an awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations rather than getting caught up in ruminating or thinking can give us a greater sense of peace, space, happiness and contentment.

With World Music Day taking place today, there’s never been a better time to practice listening to music mindfully. Focussing on the sounds of the instruments, and pitch and tone of the music can really help to focus our attention on being right here, right now.

Here are our top 5 songs chill out songs to listen to mindfully…enjoy!

  1. London Grammar
  2. Gust of Wind, Pharrell Williams
  3. Better Together, Jack Johnson
  4. Groove Amada, At the River
  5. Waves, Mr Probz

There is also an array of chill out music on YouTube to listen to mindfully.

Suggestions for Mindful Music Appreciation Practice by Patrick Groneman (Mindfulness Coach):

  • Clear your schedule for the length of the time it takes to listen to the piece of music.
  • Find a comfortable place where you feel able to fully commit your attention to the music. Set the space as your own private concert hall. Consider the lighting, air circulation (important!), fire exits, aromas and cleanliness.
  • Turn off your phone, close the extra windows on your computer, let anyone else in your living space know that you are engaged for the period of time you’ve chosen.
  • Consider if your body has been sufficiently nourished, so you might not get hungry or thirsty in the middle of the piece. For longer sessions, consider a small snack or supportive beverage to help regulate your energy.
  • Sit or lay down in a comfortable posture — one that helps you remain attentive and alert, but one where you also do not need to strain or exert too much energy.
  • Once you feel settled, take a moment to contemplate all that went into the making of the music — the training, composing, performing, recording and sharing of it. It is quite a special opportunity to be able to listen to musical art in this way. Allow any thoughts and images associated with this contemplation rise and fall through your awareness.
  • Take a few deep breaths and relax into the sensations of your body breathing. Rest with your breath for a minute or two.
  • Press play and bring your attention to the sensations of sound and feeling as the piece begins.
  • If while listening to the music, your attention does wander, just gently remind yourself to return to the sounds and sensations of the music.
  • If listening to the music stirs your emotions or thoughts, you can include those inner experiences as an extension of the music and appreciation practice.
  • As the piece comes to a close, thank yourself for taking the time to listen. As it is customary at any musical performance to thank the musicians and composer for their efforts, even in privacy, find some way to do this which feels meaningful to you (bowing, applause and cheering, even in solitude, are quite acceptable.)
  • Take a few minutes to digest the experience. You can do this by doing a breathing meditation or just relaxing. You can also write or journal about the experience if you’d like.

 By Neena Agravat

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