Music has surrounded me in every aspect of life ever since I was a baby. To my mother’s singing, to our car radio tuned into trans-am Radio, to my music players over the years plugged into my ears. I could go on, but you get the point. I always listened for fun, but when my dark days came around, I started to use it to help with the various emotions I would feel: rage, loneliness, love, etc. I love the power that music has to aid my stress and anxiety, but it’s also a great portal to relieve any other loud or angry feelings that can come to us. Personally, it makes me feel less alone when I connect to the lyrics that the band was trying to convey.
When I get too anxious/stressed, there are a couple of things that I like to listen to,
- The App “Calm” has helped with guided meditations and deep breathing exercises, but what I love most about this app is the background noises that you can choose from in the main screen: Serene Lakes (two) and Rainforest. I love being surrounded by nature sounds.
- Matching my symptoms to the rhythm/tempo of songs almost validates what I feel, for example:
Feeling anxious because no one understands me:
Alice Merton – No Roots
Feeling angry over things that happen in our society/culture
Marilyn Manson – Beautiful People
Feeling lost when someone leaves your life
Fleetwood Mac – The Chain
- Classical Movie Scores/Soundtracks when I find the time for a relaxation bath. Sometimes I need something without lyrics to melt all the nonsense that’s floating through my brain.
Check out “Epic Film Scores” through Google Play
Music is magical to me; not only is it universal, and it helps us cope when we need it the most – it activates our entire brain, creating the potential to improve our feelings.
I love listening to music as a stress reliever, and I always recommend to do it when you’re doing things in the background, like driving (especially when you’re alone and can BELT out the lyrics!) and cleaning house. Dancing around my kitchen is the only exercise I can do nowadays! Whether you decide to listen or create, make sure that music is a part of your life so you can start seeing the benefits it has towards your physical and emotional health.
Over the break, I went out for lunch with one of my best friends, and we started talking about Anxiety. She mentioned that she loved reading my experiences but couldn’t relate to most of it since she doesn’t experience it as often as me. My immediate thought was LUCKY but, it’s unfair of me to think so. Anxiety can creep on us at any moment, can be big/small and have a significant impact on us and others.
When she asked what alleviates my anxiety, I immediately thought of my side passions: Writing, Reading & Music. Determining what you love and taking action is a big part of reducing stress and anxiety.
I like getting lost in music and stories, keeping my mind occupied undoubtedly keeps me away from my worries. Writing in itself is cathartic, and sometimes when my mind is jumbled, it’s great to get these thoughts out.
Do you need help or lack motivation? One of my enormous hurdles over the past couple of years was acceptance. Anxiety doesn’t go away – it will never disappear. Once I accepted this, it oddly reduced my anxiety.
Here are five ways to help reduce Anxiety:
- Meditation: This will take a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of meditating you’ll start to notice the calming effect it has on you. I use the app CALM for this purpose but start gradually. Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot do a full session right away.
- Get Healthy: Physical health is so incredibly vital to anyone’s mental health. Once I started to eat healthier, I noticed a huge difference in my energy and sleep patterns. Working out a few days a week is also very useful at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and at enhancing your cognitive function
- Follow a Routine: Creating a daily ritual for yourself can reduce your anxiety by its predictability. Bring your passions into play! I like to write out my ideas for this blog or my novel, read a book by one of my favorite authors Linwood Barclay or just getting lost for the 1092846th time in Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon
- Stretch your comfort zone: One of my prominent accomplishments was doing something once a week that took me out of my comfort zone. Don’t forget to take SMALL STEPS though – beating your anxiety takes time so don’t jump into something too drastic right away
- Laughing: Remember to smile and laugh at yourself. Laughter is one of the best medicines, and the positivity is always best