How to Incorporate Music into Your Self-Care Routine

Music Therapy as Self-Care: An Exercise for Personal Peace

Image courtesy of Neon Music.

In a world that is extremely fast paced, the pressures of society including raising kids, keeping a job, getting the grade, etc. Therefore, it is often difficult to prioritize mental health. When you’re dealing with a busy lifestyle, you need something like music to avoid burnout and to check in with yourself. Music can easily alleviate the pressures of everyday life and can help to take the mind off of different stressors. Music therapy and self-care go hand in hand! Music has been proven to provide benefits such as decreased anxiety, increased self-awareness, and overall mindfulness. 

This article will discuss:

  • The importance of self-care
  • Using music therapy for stress reduction and self-care
  • Listening to music with intention

Importance of Self-Care

How Important is Self-Care for Mental Health?

Self-care is very important in maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. What does this mean? Reminding yourself that you and your needs are important produces feelings of positivity, while boosting confidence and self-esteem. Self-care is crucial for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Here are a few reasons why neglecting self-care could be detrimental to overall prosperity:

  • Stress - Constant stress and anxiety can have adverse effects on not only mental health but physical health as well. Some self-care habits that can act as a form of stress management include eating healthy, meditating, talking with a loved one or professional, and listening to music.
  • Just Existing - Life is full of responsibilities and taking care of ourselves is one of those responsibilities. Start living and stop existing! Doing little things like taking a bubble bath, reading a book, going for a walk, etc., are all ways that we can remind ourselves to choose to have a meaningful existence. 
  • Physical Health - Our physical health can suffer greatly if self-care is ignored. It is an important part of self-care to maintain physical health. A few ways you can do this is by going for a run, caring about your hygiene, getting an adequate amount of sleep, etc.

Self-care encourages everybody to maintain a healthy relationship with themselves. Self-care is concerned about replenishing one’s own resources without depleting others. While some might misconstrue self-care as selfishness, self-care is important for health and stress management. 

Self-attention is a vital need that should be practiced more often. Individual mental health takes priority over anything else. Image courtesy of GenderIt

Using Music Therapy for Self-Care

Stop, Pause, and Press Play

Humans respond to music on a deep and fundamental level. Let’s face it, music is part of being human. Music affects our bodies and brains in ways that just require us to sit, listen, and enjoy. Music achieves many things. Music can increase dopamine levels which instantly improves mood. Emotional memory is tied to music and can trigger past feelings and emotions, almost as if you are being transported back in time. Music also affects breathing and heart rate.

Music therapists bring the art of music to many people who have challenges regarding their physical, cognitive, and emotional health. Music is both completely abstract while being profoundly emotional. Using music as an intentional tool for the health and wellness of anyone can have great benefits, some of which were mentioned above. Here are some tips for using music for self-care:

  1. Listening to songs that have a positive association for you can significantly improve mood. Creating a playlist of songs that make you happy can have a huge impact on emotions and can be a powerful memory stimulant.
  2.  Listening to songs with a slower tempo can help to calm the nerves. Listening to music with a tempo that matches a 60-80 bpm (the resting heart rate) can keep you at or help you achieve peace. 
  3. Get involved and make some music! This may be a scary thing to hear for some people but, music is a skill that can be learned. Participating in music has positive impacts on mood, cognitive functioning, memory, and focus. 

The growing evidence that music can be used as a “self-guided intervention” supports the notion that a music therapist can give you the tools you need to give yourself a form of relief. The music therapists at Incadence are always willing and excited to help you with whatever musical therapies you need! 

Learning a new instrument can be a very helpful form of self-care. Image courtesy of Joyful Noises

Listening to Music With Intention

Being Mindful of How Music Affects you Emotionally

When listening to music with the intent of self-care, it is important to be especially mindful of both the negative and positive emotions that are elicited through different songs. Listening to music that you often relate to can be helpful for you whereas listening to music that you don’t relate too or don’t feel good about can be harmful. 

Music can be a transformative tool that helps strengthen mental health and encourages the maintenance of self-care practices. Image courtesy of EarthQuaker Devices.

When you are feeling overwhelmed with daily tasks, music can help set intentions for certain tasks. Setting intentions with goals in mind makes you stop and think “why am I doing this?”. Music can help keep goals in the front of your mind when you get distracted by outside stimuli that prevents you from completing a task. Picking a song can avert your gaze and focus back to the task at hand. Using music for self-awareness, self-care, mood regulation, and stress alleviation can help in the self-care process. Taking care of yourself mentally should be top priority and listening to music can greatly assist with self-care. Self-care encourages a healthy relationship with yourself and the world around you. When you feel good about yourself, you are then able to transmit good feelings to others around you. 

Edited by Cara Jernigan on January 17, 2021

Haley Wisniewski
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