Meditation brings a veritable laundry list of proven benefits. (To learn more, see this article on the benefits of meditation
.) You can combine the benefits of meditation with the benefits of other stress management tools, such as aromatherapy
or a warm bath, and experience additional stress relief
. The following technique, the Musical Bath Meditation, allows you to combine the benefits of music
with the benefits of meditation, a warm bath, and even aromatherapy, allowing you to feel like you’ve gotten a real break from your stressors, and ending with more relaxed physiology and a quieter mind. Here are some tips:
Time Required: 15 Minutes or More
- Take Some Time.
Block off at least 15 minutes where you won’t be interrupted. That means creating a few extra minutes in your schedule, putting the phone straight to voicemail, telling others in your household not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency.
- Find The Right Music
Set up a means to play music in your bathroom, and choose music that you experience as soothing. (Note: If you hate classical music, Do Not choose classical music! While this type of music can be very relaxing for those who enjoy it, it can actually create more stress in those who disllike this type of music. You can try New Age music, Smooth Jazz or other types of slower, relaxed music.) Try to avoid music with lyrics, as this can engage your internal dialogue and make it more difficult to keep your mind clear.
- Add Scent.
As you run the bath, you may want to incorporate some of the benefits of aromatherapy by using bubble-bath or bath oils scented with lavender (shown to be relaxing), peppermint (if you want to feel more alert), or another scent that you really like (studies show that subjectively pleasing scents bring stress relief benefits, too). This way you can add another layer of stress relief with no additional effort.
- Get In and Relax
Let your breathing become slower and deeper, coming you’re your diaphragm or belly rather than from your shoulders or chest. (See this article for more on breathing exercises.)
- Focus On Now.
As you relax, focus on what’s happening right now in the present moment, rather than on the stresses of the day, the list of tasks for the near future, or your emotions concerning any of these topics. Focus instead of the beautiful music you hear, the nice scents you smell, and the warmth you feel.
- Focus on Sensations.
As your relaxation deepens, start to focus on the sensations you feel in your body, like the warmth of the water against your skin or the pressure of the tub against your back. Also, focus on the feelings that the music may arise in you: warmth in your chest, for example, or feelings in your belly. Just feel, but don’t try to think about them too much. If you find your inner voice keeping a running commentary, try to gently redirect your attention away from it, and back to the quiet sensations you’re feeling.
- Continue To Relax.
Try to stay in a state of meditation for a few songs, and return to your life when you’re ready.
- If you find any of your music distracting you rather than enhancing the experience, see if you can still enjoy the experience of relaxing in the tub with some of your favorite music, and just search for more suitable music next time.
- If you use the same music repeatedly, you may find that you start associating this music with relaxation on a deep level, and can use just the music to achieve a deep sense of relaxation during times when you can’t do the full bath, or even get into a state of meditation like while driving, working or waiting at the dentist’s office.
- You can also try other meditation techniques, or use music for stress relief in other ways.