• Let Music Soothe Your Savage Beast

    Healing Music

    There’s an old saying that music soothes the savage beast. I don’t know the origins of that particular truism, but I appreciate it on a regular basis. After all, I play music in my massage room all day and I see its effects.

    I see clients come in wound tighter than a thirteen day clock and within minutes, the music starts to lull them into slower and deeper breathing; sometimes before I even lay a hand on them. I see people who are a nervous ball of energy start to relax and allow some quiet space into the session.

    The music that most massage therapists play during their sessions is chosen for its relaxing properties. Some music is even composed specifically to not only relax you, but to put you into a light meditative state. It’s quite effective. But you don’t have to go to a massage therapist to let music calm you down or lift you up. This is a perfect do-it-yourself project, but hey, if you also want to get a massage, it can only help. 🙂

    Now, there’s one caveat before you rush out and buy a shopping basket full of relaxing CDs or download a bunch of songs from iTunes:

    All that relaxing music can be irritating and annoying if you’re too worked up. If you’ve ever been in a towering rage and heard a song like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy*” come on the radio, or had some well-meaning (or possibly just a jackhole) coworker sing it to you, you know what I’m talking about. Not only will it NOT make you happy, it’ll probably induce in you a desire to either punch the stereo or coworker or throw it/him through a window. Maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it.

    You see, when your mental or emotional state is at one end of the spectrum, anything from the far other end of the spectrum – be it music, platitudes (Don’t be mad/sad/etc. Every day is a gift, that’s why we call it the present), or attitudes (Suzy “Chipper-to-the-pont-of-nausea” Cheerleader) – will rub you the wrong way. I could go on and on about all three but I’m going to stick to music today, because it’s something you have some control over.

    Your options for playing music are such that you most likely have access to one or more of these at any given time: MP3 player, smart phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer,  car radio, or home stereo. With the internet and satellite radio, the musical possibilities here are endless.

    Sometimes it’s as simple as playing your favorite calming or uplifting music. Other times, however, it’s not that easy. If you’re like me, you generally have a pretty good idea of when it’s going to be fairly easy, and when it’s not. My big clue that it’s NOT going to be easy is when just the thought of some of my usually favorite soothing music sets my teeth on edge.

    In those cases, I need to start where I am and slowly work my way to a better frame of mind through the progression of music I play. The trick is to not over think or over plan your musical selections. Like everything in life, it’s a process.

    The process looks something like this:

    1. Start by asking yourself, “What music will either reflect my current state, or make me feel a little bit better”
    2. Play some of that music
    3. Now ask, “What music will make me feel a little bit better”
    4. Play some of that music
    5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you’re feeling better

    *While it’s not on my list of favorites, I really don’t mind this song at all when I’m in a good mood. Bobby McFerrin is an amazingly talented musician, but I appreciate his talent much more when I’m in a good mood.

    Have you ever let music soothe your savage beast? What are some of your favorite songs when you’re in an crabby, grumpy, or angry mood? When you’re sad? When you’re in a great mood? Why? Leave your favorites in the comments. Who knows, your favorite, could become someone else’s favorite, too.

    You know what would put me in a great mood? You sharing this blog post with others. There should be some handy sharing buttons right below this post to make it easy peasy. You could even sign up to get the blog delivered directly to your email or RSS feed using the sign-up boxes at the top of the sidebar to your right. But hey… no pressure. 🙂

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