MINDFUL MUSIC FOR STRESS RELIEF
“Music is an international language that can connect people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds, genders, abilities and life issues,” says Shelia Lee, a certified music therapist based in Vancouver. “When words are unavailable, music is there as a powerful form of self-expression and communication.” She adds that studies have shown that engaging with music we enjoy can help increase our levels of oxytocin and dopamine (the “happy” hormones), release endorphins and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone). “The more actively involved we are with music, the more benefits we can gain from it,” she says. On that note, here are seven tips from Lee on how to use music to reduce stress: 1. Dedicate a special time and space for music. Find a place where you can be free from distractions—and silence your mobile devices for the time being. 2. Pause, take some deep breaths and ask yourself “What am I aware of at the moment?” 3. Choose a song or create some music to match your present state. 4. Reflect on how the music affected you. 5. Set an intention of how you want to feel or what you wish for yourself and others. 6. Choose a song or create some music (sing, listen to or play it) that matches your intention. 7. Keep whatever you wish to retain from the music and let it take away whatever you wish to release.