How often to you listen to music? Is it just on quietly in the background and you barely notice it, or do you blast it loudly and sing along to the songs? Can it change your demeanor or how you feel? How does it influence your life? Do you notice that?
Last year I bought an Echo and it’s really changed my life in a big way. My life has a soundtrack now. I use it to listen to my Pandora stations and it’s amazing! I have music on in my home most of the time. And in doing so, I’ve observed in both my dogs and myself, that music has a huge influence on us.
When I get up first thing in the morning, I’m not really a happy camper. I need to wake up slow. I prefer to have quiet time with my chai latte for a while before I have to talk to anyone. But I’ve learned that some soft but uplifting music can really be perfect for me at that hour. It may even inspire me to pull out my computer and write something as I’m doing right now. In the mornings I love this Pandora station called “Meditation Spa”. It’s this magically calm but very positive feeling music that is perfect in the background as the sun comes up and streams through my window.
Sometimes though, when I need to get stuff done, I need something more uplifting but not too crazy. For me, I love a little 80’s pop music. Upbeat and fun. It’s songs I know and love and can sing (and dance) along to. It’s amazing how much more fun even cleaning the house can be when I’ve got great songs to sing to as I’m doing it!
There are times too when I feel a little nostalgic and want some Frank Sinatra or old big band music on. Music from my parent’s era that reminds me of family and fun times we’ve had. Of dancing around the kitchen with mom and laughing. This music is usually upbeat for me, but can make me a little melancholy at times.
I love to have really calming music on at night for a while before I go to bed, usually for at least an hour, as it brings me to a more relaxed state and gets me ready for sleep. I find this to be true for my dogs as well. When I need them to calm down for a bit at night before bed, or when I am having tea in the morning, that calm music calms them as well. It has a soothing effect on all of us. I also leave the same calm music on for them when I leave the house.
Words Have Meaning
So obviously the tone of the music, the tempo, the pace of it all makes a difference. Do you prefer vocals or not? I find that I don’t want any vocals in my calm music, but I like them in most of my upbeat music. I also find that sometimes I just like the sounds, and don’t want to think about words. Words are a whole other ball of energy when it comes to music.
What about the words in music? Do you listen to them? Sing along? Do you do this mindlessly or do you think about the words? I’ve found that if I think about the words, I sometimes realize that a song doesn’t resonate with me. That the words are not true to who I am or what I believe. Songs that I used to like no longer make sense to me. For example, one day I was out for a run listening to my running playlist, and found that one of the songs was singing about dealing with a bad relationship. It was very negative. As I listened more closely to every word, I realized that it didn’t represent who I was or where I was at in my life right now. The words actually started to bother me! So I elimated it from my playlist that day.
Do the words affect you? I believe they can and they do. I think that words can be quite powerful, and you really do need to pay attention to the words and the meaning behind the songs that you listen to. Not to say that you need to leave a store if the song they are playing doesn’t resonate with you, but I do think the music you purposefully listen to every day – the soundtrack of your life – needs to be in alignment with who you are and who you want to be.
Self Love and Music
I believe that even the music that you choose to listen to is a reflection of how much you love yourself and your life. What do your music choices say about you? If it is harsh, angry, disrespectful – that’s something to notice. If it talks about troubled relationships – pay attention. If it has an incredibly sad tone to it (depression, victim mentality) – realize the influence that can have. And if you always listen to songs that take you to the past in negative ways – you should know that it certainly won’t help your present or your future.
So How Can You be More Mindful of Your Music?
- Notice how you feel and what you need. If you are feeling sad, maybe you need something a little bit more upbeat, or at least slow music with a happier tone to it. Maybe some acoustic guitar? But definitely not a bunch of sad songs with depressing lyrics.
- Listen to the words. If the music has lyrics, does the message or meaning resonate with you? If you are creating an exercise playlist, the tone should be upbeat of course, but are the songs all telling positive and inspiring stories too? Listen carefully to the words.
- Observe how certain songs make you feel. Sometimes we have a song that triggers a memory, or certain feelings. And sometimes we don’t want to go there. I know there are a few songs I’ve eliminated from my Pandora playlists. I don’t need to hear them. Who needs a song that triggers you when you are dancing around the kitchen having fun? Take your old trigger songs off your playlist.
- Your taste and music needs may change.You will probably notice that something that may have felt relaxing to you one day seems a bit too much for you on another day. I had found a great acoustic guitar station one day that felt just perfect and relaxing, but a few days later it felt too fast-paced and I needed to tone it down even more with a spa music station. You might love a certain kind of music for a while, but then suddenly need something totally different. Honor that and seek out what you need.
- Different music for every mood and time. I have a lot of different music I listen to. It depends on the time of day, my mood, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, etc. Honor the fact that you might need and enjoy a whole array of different types of music in your life. I’ve even known some pretty ‘masculine’ men who listen to spa music in their car to help them stay calm in traffic. Know what you need at different times and honor that.
- Realize that music can change everything. It is much more powerful than we realize in terms of influencing our emotions. Music can be healing and cathartic, or it can reopen old wounds and hurts. Be thoughtful and picky in your music choices. Listen to music that supports you, honors you, and helps to move you forward to a better place.
- Honor the times you need quiet as well. I’ve been known to turn on the radio in the car, flip through all the stations (finding nothing that resonates), and just turning it back off. You don’t always need background noise. Enjoy the quiet sometimes too. Don’t listen to music just for the noise. We really need less ‘noise’ in our lives. Make the choice to have quiet sometimes too.
I invite you to be more mindful of your music this week. To really listen carefully and observe. To go through your playlists. To find the music that resonates with you. To listen to the lyrics and decide if they are in alignment with you and what you believe and want in your life. Does it bring you joy? Does it light you up? Does it make you happy? Does it calm you down? Does it relax you? Realize that you will need different types of music at different times, but it should all be in alignment with you.
Whatever you need, make sure your music is that supportive soundtrack in the background. It is far more powerful than you realize.
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