Music has many wonderful benefits for stress management and overall health. (Read this for more on the benefits of music
.) Meditation is also one of the most popular stress management strategies for good reason. (Read more on the benefits of meditation
here.) Combining music with meditation can deepen the positive effects of both, and bring you greater stress relief. Here's how.
Time Required: Variable; Optimally, Around 20 Minutes
- Choose meditation music that can help you relax. This means finding music that you enjoy listening to—if you don’t enjoy classical music, for example, don’t choose it. You should also look for music that has a slower tempo, and preferably without lyrics, which can be distracting and can engage your conscious mind—the part of your mind that we hope to ‘turn off’.
- Get into a comfortable position and relax. Close your eyes, loosen your muscles, and breathe through your diaphragm. (Read more about breathing exercises.)
- Stay focused on the music. If you find yourself thinking about other things (or even thinking thoughts about the music), gently redirect your attention to the present moment, the sound of the music, and the feelings in your body that the music evokes. Try to really feel the music.
- Continue this practice for several minutes, until your time runs out. As thoughts come into your head, gently let them go and redirect your attention to the sound of the music, the present moment, and the physical sensations you feel. The goal of this practice is to quiet your inner voice and just ‘be’. So just ‘be’ with the music, and fully immerse yourself, and you’ll feel more relaxed fairly quickly.
- You may want to start out with just a few songs, and work your way up to longer practice.
- If you find the music brings lots of thoughts, memories and internal dialogue, switch to a different type of music. (Here are some meditation music suggestions that other readers have found to be helpful.)
- You can time your practice with the amount of songs you choose so you don’t have to worry if you are taking more time than you have.
- If you find yourself ‘thinking too much’, don’t beat yourself up over it; this is natural for those beginning meditation practice. Instead, congratulate yourself on noticing the internal dialogue, and redirecting your attention to the present moment.