I’ve been stressed out lately. Life has thrown me some curve balls and work has been extremely busy with some tight deadlines. It’s been tough. I’ve found, however, that if I use music to meditate to, I can give my mind a pretty quick break, resulting in my keeping my sanity. I’m not talking about just any music, of course, though the joy of listening to your favorite tunes can have mood-lifting benefits no matter the genre.
What I’m specifically referring to is that ultra-relaxing zen music like you hear in massage parlors. You know what I’m talking about. If you’ve been stressed out lately, get your hands on some zen music and use it to help you meditate.
I’ve found that a lot of people are intimidated by meditation because they think it’s some formal thing they have to do while they sit straight-backed in the lotus position with their eyes closed while they mutter “OM” over and over. If that’s just not your style, that’s ok! Meditation is about relaxing your mind and taking a moment for yourself. I often find that some nice zen music is just the thing. And don’t think you need to sit in a specific position, either. You can sit however is most comfortable to you. You can lay down. You can keep your eyes closed or open. You can even walk if you want to. This is your show, so meditate in the way that makes you happy.
Where to get this music
You can buy CDs or MP3 albums from places like Amazon and iTunes, of course. If you’re a subscriber to a music service like Pandora or Spotify, you can create a playlist specific to zen music as well (but make sure you have one of the plans that cuts out commercials if you do, because nothing pops your zen bubble like an obnoxious commercial). There are some great things on Soundcloud as well. Just find your favorite tracks and go.
If you’re living a stressful life and want to try music meditation, here’s what I recommend:
In the morning:
Chances are, you have some time in the morning to put on some relaxing music. Just take 5-10 minutes at some point, be it first thing after waking up, while you’re drinking your coffee, while you’re in the car, etc. to listen to a few tracks. Just focus on the sounds while you listen and try not to think about all the other things that are going on in your life (unless you’re driving…in which case, you know, pay attention to that as well).
Go for a walk. Get out of the office! Put some music in your headphones and either stroll around while listening to it or go sit somewhere quiet. Just focus on the sounds of the music. Don’t think about work. Don’t think about deadlines. Don’t worry about whatever emails you need to answer. Just listen to the music and just be. You can handle all those things when you get back. This is your time. It doesn’t even need to take that much time. Even if you just take 15 minutes to do this, you’ll come back feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.
If you can, spend another 5-10 minute session after work listening to some meditative music. This will help you release the stresses of the day and ease into the evening.
Turn the lights down low, pour yourself a hot cup of caffeine-free tea, and relax with another 10 minutes of meditative music. This will help you get ready for bed.
I can’t do all that!
If you don’t think you have the time to take four short meditation breaks during the day, why not start out with just one? I’m sure you’ve got ten minutes at some point in your day that you can take for yourself! It doesn’t need to be difficult and this is NOT something to stress about. Do what you can. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Let yourself know it’s ok if you didn’t get your meditation done every day, or if you didn’t do it for as long as you wanted to. There’s no pressure here. This is all about just taking a few moments for yourself, and it’s definitely not all or nothing. Even if you just take five minutes a day to relax your mind, it’s all beneficial.