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Weekly Wellness Word: Music

Monthly Theme: Breathing This week’s word is Music If you were to write a song about the current season of your life, what kind of song would it be? Perhaps a rap song, hymn, ballad, or love song. Think about the melody of your life today, this week, this month. Are you presently in a season of soft, low tones or a season of loud and disturbing movements? Describe the overall tone of the song, whether it is brisk and lively, slow and lyrical, energetic and boisterous, etc. Notice what emotions emerge as you imagine the song of your life. Imagine for a moment what it might feel like to listen to a song that reflects your current season of life. Would listening to a song like that be helpful to process your current experience, or would a song of an opposite nature feel more attractive to you at present? Music by nature pulls the cords of our deeper selves - our hearts, our feelings, even our bodies. At times we may use music as a means to escape our lives, to find refuge from anxiety, stress or frustration. Many people find that soothing music can calm the fight or flight stress response in our body's systems, literally wicking away tension, rolling it off of our backs and shoulders. Take some time this week to listen to some music reflective of your current season of life and/or music that expresses an opposite tone to your current season of life. Notice the emotions that rise up within you as you hear the ebb and flow of their sounds. Experiment a bit with incorporating deep breathing and/or movement as you listen. You might try the breathing exercise that Marty mentioned in the video a couple weeks ago - three repetitions of inhale for 6 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Or perhaps include some gentle stretching or dance movements in unison with the tempo and mood of the music. Notice any change you feel with each experiment. Do you feel more grounded, calmer, or perhaps more focused and energized? Consider how you might incorporate music into your routine to initiate the desired effect in moments when you need it. Quote of the Week "In the Greek myth of Orpheus, we find a powerful testimony to the power of music. Throughout his journey in the underworld, Orpheus played his lyre and sang. His music pacified the dark forces, bringing tears to the eyes of the gods and softening their hearts. Music does stir emotion. It is no wonder that it has been called the language of the soul. Music can soothe, or energize, or enervate, or fan the passions. You've no doubt experienced the emotional effects of music at some point in your life--perhaps at a wedding, a graduation, a funeral. In every culture, spiritual or religious ritual is accompanied by music, whether it involves the rousing drumbeat of a tribal dance, the mournful strains of a medieval requiem, the awakening call of the cantor, or the joyous chorus of hand-clapping gospel singers. Music alters the body and the mind. Just as loud, harsh sounds can cause injury to the eardrums and set the nervous system on edge, so, too, music and other sounds, such as the ocean or your own heartbeat, can enhance deep relaxation, supply you with new energy, stimulate creativity, and even transport you into other states of consciousness. When used consciously, music is a form of healing. So, when you are particularly stressed, or feeling sick or in pain (with a backache, arthritis, or a bothersome cold, for instance), try using a little music therapy on yourself. Plants grow better with certain types of music--why shouldn't the same be true for you? The key to using music for healing is to allow yourself to let go into it. Many people will listen to music critically, identifying the interactions of the various instruments or comparing the selection with other pieces. This is listening with the mind, whereas therapeutic listening is done with the whole body. You literally drop your attention from your head to somewhere lower in your body--you imagine that your heart is listening; you allow your abdomen to be filled with the music; you let the music come in through your hands and feet; you breathe it. You keep letting go into the music, as if the sounds were waves or clouds carrying you away or supporting you. Depending upon the type of music you choose, this method of listening can be either deeply relaxing or highly energizing. Listening with this degree of openness will alter the frequency of your brain waves, your rate of respiration, and your blood pressure. It can stimulate imagery, evoke memories, release emotions, and dissipate tension.” - Wellness Workbook: How to Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality by John W. Travis, M.D. and Regina Sara Ryan Next Step Creative Uses of Sound for Wellness “Sing. Open your mouth, your eyes, and your throat. Sing at the top of your lungs, or quietly hum under your breath. Use singing to lift your spirits and to breathe more fully. Chant or hum to get your energy vibrating. Use the repetition of the same sound or phrase to relax you, or to raise your consciousness, or to literally reprogram your body to a health-inspiring message. Play an instrument. Maybe it's time to dig out that old guitar, recorder, or drum, or to start taking lessons. For many people, music playing is both a form of energy release and relaxation and a means of creative expression. Drums are particularly good for this and can be used without any instruction. Listen to the movement of air through your nostrils and to other natural sounds in the environment. Use wind sounds in combination with visualization to help you clear certain conditions, such as headaches or a sense of confusion. Use water sounds to encourage relaxation. The sound of birds chirping is excellent for inspiring hope and joy. Be creative. Make up your own uses for natural sounds. Listen to Music Perhaps you have plenty of musical favorites to choose from already--different selections to help you to relax or to release built-up frustration. But if you don't, it may be time to start accumulating a music library of pieces that you can use for winding up or winding down. There is a growing collection of instrumental music for stress and relaxation and ambient music with sounds of nature with many interesting selections. Classical music offers unending possibilities as well. The Mozart Effect - A Five Day Music Experiment Are you ready to expand your sensory awareness and appreciation of music, or to experience the healing effects? Music- and sound-healing expert Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect, suggests that you spend ten minutes of undivided listening time a day for five days.

On the first day, pick out a piece of favorite instrumental music from your collection. While it plays, sit back or lie down with eyes closed. Breathe. Notice whatever you notice.

The second day, do some ordinary activity as you listen to the same piece, like washing dishes, opening your e-mail, or writing out checks.

The third day, listen and also act out conducting the music, as if you are a famous maestro.

The fourth day, listen to the same piece of music as you eat a meal.

On the fifth day, do the same relaxation method as on day one. Notice the difference in appreciation or effect from day one to day five.”

- Wellness Workbook: How to Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality by John W. Travis, M.D. and Regina Sara Ryan Further Information For a deeper dive into healing music, try listening to some music incorporating frequencies designed to result in specific physiological and emotional effects. Below are some links to listen or to learn more. Also provided is a list of frequencies to look for and the potential effects of each.;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1548912189/RO=10/ The main six healing frequencies are: 396 Hz – Minimizes stress, liberates guilt and fear, strengthens musculoskeletal and nervous systems, liver and kidney function 417 Hz – Undoing situations and facilitating change, strengthens digestive system and enzyme production, increase energy, minimize headaches and lower back pain 528 Hz – Encourages transformation and sleep, strengthens circulatory and lymphatic systems, encourage DNA repair and healthy weight, minimize hormonal inbalance and menopause symptoms 639 Hz – Encourages healthy relationships, strengthens adrenal and endocrine systems 741 Hz – Encourages healthy emotional expression and problem solving, strengthens circulatory and immune systems 852 Hz – Returning to spiritual center, minimizes boredom and dullness, stimulates positive feelings and motivation Have a GREAT week!

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