"Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spirit." Ludwig van Beethoven
Music can transport us in many different ways. It can change our mood, get our feet moving, make us cry and get our heart pumping. In short, it affects us in every way possible: physically, emotionally and deep in our soul.
A neurologist from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center conducted research that has had interesting indications of the affect of music on the brain. He found that music reaches each of us in different ways and our preferences matter more than the type of music you are listening to. For instance, if you love country music, listening to Luke Bryan can have a great impact on brain connectivity and the brain circuit that is involved in internally focused thought, empathy and self-awareness.
Meditation and Music May Help Reverse Early Memory Loss in Adults at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease research published January 21, 2017 summarized: Adults with early memory loss, scientists found that practice of a simple meditation or music listening program may have multiple benefits for older adults with preclinical memory loss. The findings of this trial suggest that two simple mind-body practices, Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening, may not only improve mood, sleep, and quality of life, but also boost cognition and help reverse perceived memory loss in older adults with SCD."
Meditation can also be a useful tool for achieving clarity and peacefulness in your life. Meditation is just a simple method to activate our minds and develop cognitive activities. Different types of music can be used in conjunction but it should be calming to you. Practicing meditation can have the following benefits:
- Reduce stress
- Heal your body
- Help you eat better
- Balance your emotions
- Improve your concentration
- Improve intimacy
- Improve sleep
Mindfulness can also be improved with music and music can be used as a tool for mindfulness. Separate from meditation (but also frequently confused with it), mindfulness is just the state of focusing on your own awareness of your present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Using music with this practice can help us better understand our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Instead of having music “just on” as background noise, pick a piece of music and sit down to relax, like a meditation pose, but clear your area and space in order to actually listen to the whole piece and pay attention to how your body reacts and how you feel as you listen.
The affects and benefits of music are so far-reaching that we don’t know all the possibilities that exist yet. The next time you reach for your headphones, see if you can employ some of these tactics to reconnect with yourself.
AnJenette Afridi, MA, ERYT-500, is a pioneer in Lifestyle Medicine, Mindful-Based Strategies, and Creator of INHALE EXHALE SMILE℠ Meditation and Mindfulness Targeted Skills-Based Training. AnJenette is a Lifestyle Medicine Consultant and a Meditation and Mindfulness Master Teacher with 30+ years in private practice. “AJ’s” professional credentials include a Master’s Degree in Psychology (MA) 1997, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-500) 2002, American Psychological Association (APA) Member 1996, American College of Lifestyle Medicine Member, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine Member, and Harvard Medical School CEU’s in Lifestyle Medicine and Mind Body Medicine (Herbert Benson, MD) the last 15 years.
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AnJenette aka AJ has worked with corporations, hospitals, health centers, schools, and private clientele including adults and children. She is often featured at public and private in-person and online events, and she hosts events as well. AJ's warmth, credibility, and energetic sense of humor create an atmosphere that supports expansion, creativity, and abundant possibility.
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.