Music is one of the most powerful self help tools available to us. It can make you cry or leap with joy. It can be depressing or uplifting. It can be distracting or calming. It can make you feel peaceful. It can be invigorating. It can relax or cause stress. According to Don Campbell (1), who has researched and documentede role and uses of music in therapeutic settings, it can:
Some of the items in the above list are not difficult to prove. Just play “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lewis or “Single Ladies” by Beyonce and see what that does to your heart rate and breathing.
Creating your day
You can use song to start, create and set the tone of your day. Every morning when I wake up I take my ipod and go for a long walk. I listen to songs that are uplifting and then invigorating causing me to walk at a fast pace. By the time I get back home I will be in a joyous, euphoric state: a highly resourceful state in which I feel that I can be, do and achieve anything I want. Sometimes I listen to quiet, calming tunes and get home in a comfortable and peaceful state.
You don’t have to go for a walk. It works just as well with exercises or while doing daily chores or preparing for work.
Changing your state
When you are feeling depressed or anxious you can play joyous songs that immediately uplift you and increase your endorphin levels. The chances are that the songs will linger in your mind for some time and maintain your happy state. I listen to tunes that make me want to dance. It is not possible to be down in the dumps and dance at the same time. You can also sing out aloud or hum a song that makes you happy and glad to be alive. If I am singing I drum out the tune with my hands and fingers, to make it more fun.
When I need calm and peace, I play gentle soothing tunes.
Louise Hays (2) talks about affirmations and how writing them down or singing them is very effective. I found that while singing my affirmations I always went into a joyful state, the ideal state for applying the law of attraction. The words of songs also act as powerful affirmations because they tend to linger in your mind after the song has finished playing. My favourite is “Love is all around” by The Troggs although other bands have since sung it. Other songs have negative affirmations about love, money, work and relationships. I avoid these like the plague.
Memory, Concentration and Learning
According to Don Campbell (1) music, especially that of Mozart, has a powerful positive effect on creativity and learning. Mozart classics played to college students and children significantly improved their spatial intelligence. It increases the memory and improves attention span. So if you play Mozart while studying you are more likely to concentrate and for longer periods.
At the 1932 Convention of Quantum Physics in Copenhagen it was discovered that all the physicists in attendance were accomplished musicians (3). There is a lesson here for schools and parents.
Sound and song have always been known to have a healing effect. Many societies incorporate sound and healing into their treatments (1). Alfred Tomatis, a French Physician, used Mozart to treat children with hearing and learning disorders.
David Ison (4), a musician, audio designer, sound engineer, meditation teacher and energetic practitioner, used music, breathing and meditation to walk again after becoming paralysed from the waist down following a car accident. He has since refined this method and called it the Ison Method. During research at the National Institute of Health Clinical Center (5), involving 272 patients it was shown that a 20-minute session of the Ison Method significantly reduced symptoms such as tension, fatigue, pain, headache, depression and nausea and placed the patients in a deep state of relaxation. The Ison Method uses music to regulate and slow the breathing, breathing to create a deep state of relaxation and meditation. It also opens up the chakras, the body’s energy system.
Luanne Oakes (3) uses sound to raise the vibration of the body to frequencies that support optimal health. She combines frequency technologies (musical chords, harmonics and overtones), sounds of nature and hypnotic suggestions to create a healing experience while balancing the chakras.
Remember that any healing modality works best with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Sleep and Insomnia
Music has sedative effects. Think of mothers singing lullabies to help their babies to fall sleep. The very fact that music can reduce stress and cause the listener to go into a deep state of relaxation means that it is suitable for insomnia and other sleep disorders.