Reconnect With the World and Who You Are Through Music
Lack of connection from the people that are normally around us is probably the most noticeable cause of feeling lost or alone as a parent, but there are less obvious detachments that occur, which can also contribute to feeling this way; detachments from things and experiences that help remind us of who we are, what we love, the emotions we are experiencing and our very worthy existence in this world.
In the ongoing chaos of parenthood, we can forget to regularly reconnect with the things that nourish and ground us as individual human beings; the things in life that can make us feel fully alive and awake. Music is one of the key things in life that provides a valuable connection to what makes us who we are.
Humans have always had a special relationship with music, in some form or another. Music plays a big part in life, and is so ingrained in everyday life that it’s almost hard to imagine an activity that is not accompanied by it; it can be heard while we shop, study, work, travel, socialise, relax or exercise.
Although we spend most of our time surrounded by music, being fully engaged in our own personal choices in music can deeply connect with who we are. It’s through this increased level of engagement with music that the disconnection from our world dissipates.
But how does it actually work?
Research suggests that music stimulates the body’s natural feel-good chemicals (endorphins and oxytocin), which can help energise our mood, provide an outlet for us to take control of our feelings and even help us work through problems.
Whilst most of us listen to music, we can use our choice in music to boost mood, improve exercise, motivate us and heal our psyche. Psychology, neuroscience and medicine studies all acknowledge the power of music to significantly enhance our state of body and mind.
Music and Mood
Music can sometimes dramatically affect our mood, and certain pieces of music can affect us in deeply personal ways.
Listening to music is a popular way to cope with difficult times, for example it can sometimes express how we are feeling or vent difficult thoughts and emotions for us. We may be able to relate to the music and find comfort from the words in a song.
When we feel down, it can be tempting to play music that fits with how we feel, or that relates to a time when we have felt like this in the past, which may make us feel worse. Some music may allow you to sit with a mood, explore it, understand it, but not feel worse from doing so. It can be much more helpful, however, to choose music that is close to how we feel now, but just slightly above it, for instance a little faster or slightly more upbeat, or music that only starts slow and sad, but changes and influences our mood in the same way.
Other music might help us set a new mood. This can be helpful if it helps us bring our mood/emotions to a healthier space.
Music and Energy
Music can relax or energise. The rhythm can affect our bodies so that our pulse and respirations are in time with the music’s beat or rhythm, therefore improving our energy levels at times where we might feel slow or tired.
In addition, as our mood increases with appropriate music exposure, so too do our energy levels.
Music and Health
Across the world, music therapy and music medicine strategies have found that choosing the right music can help reduce the need for self-administered pain medications, improve sleep quality, and minimise cardiac and breathing emergencies in populations as diverse as premature babies to adults with dementia.
McDonalds did their own research, which showed that we eat according to the speed of the music being played. Therefore, when a restaurant is busy, with a queue building up, McDonalds plays fast music, thus ensuring that the customers will eat quickly, and leave the restaurant sooner, freeing up the table for the next customers.
This research can be useful when looking at our own eating habits. By playing slow music during meal times, we are naturally encouraged to eat slower, giving our bodies a chance to detect when we are full and completely nourished earlier and reducing the chance of overeating.
Getting More Into Music
Music is very personal to each of us, and what affects one person in one way, may affect someone else very differently. Most people probably have some idea of what affects them and how, but it’s always worth experimenting and trying out different pieces of music.
Life as a parent doesn’t have to always be about nursery rhymes and Wiggles songs; have a go at creating a few different playlists on your phone, iPad or computer according to your different moods:
- – lighter and faster music for when you’re feeling sad
- – calming music for when you’re feeling tense, or having trouble falling asleep
- – vibrant music to wake you up
- – happy music with a good beat to energise you, or make you feel like dancing
- – loud, strong music to vent frustration or stress
Keep these playlists handy so you can easily start playing them any time you need them, anywhere you are, such as at home, in bed, driving the car, waiting in the school carpark, going for a walk or at work.
If you need any help with effective music strategies for your workplace, or would like to know more about our parent support programs, then please give us a call today on 0402 294 953. We’d love the opportunity to help!