Tag: meditation

Aural Relaxation: Stop the Stress with Music Therapy

microphone-338481_960_720

 

Research has proven that music therapy can be an effective anxiety-reliever, making it a commonly utilized treatment by healthcare and psychiatric professionals. Music has the power to soothe the stressed-out by lowering blood pressure, regulating breathing and heart rate, and can even slow down or speed up brain waves.

Read below about 6 ways music therapy can uplift or calm a worried mind, relax a tense body and bring peace to anyone in need of some serenity throughout the day.

 

1. Reduce Road Rage—

Many people commute to and from work, which can be a constant source of stress and anger, thanks to congested traffic and distracted drivers.

Playing music during a drive can distract us from the drudgery of travel and turn it into a source of pleasure.

Music helps by psychologically reframing the commute, turning a necessary-but-unpleasant daily event into what feels more like a fun activity, keeping the listener calm and less frustrated.

 

2. Increase Productivity—

Once you step out of your music therapy vehicle and head into the job, consider continuing to use this valuable method of relaxation once you reach your workspace.

If your employer allows music to be played at desks, cubicles, in kitchens, factories, retail establishments, or wherever you are employed, this has been shown to dramatically increase employee morale—and happy employees work harder.

Remember: A fast tempo will speed up brain waves to increase concentration, while a slow tempo promotes a tranquil state of mind.

 

3. Have a Musical Lunch—

Another way to use music therapy throughout your day is to play music during your lunch break. If you’ve had a rough morning, playing upbeat music with positive lyrics can get you back into a determined, go-getter mindset.

If you’re feeling anxious, mellow classical music or folksy acoustic tunes can calm you down enough to refocus and stay on-task for the rest of the day.

If your work’s break room doesn’t allow music, get into the habit of having lunch in your car where you can control the melodies and play exactly what you need to keep your mental state solid.

 

4. Play an Instrument—

In addition to listening to songs, playing music can be one of the most effective stress-relievers available.

Playing percussive instruments such as drums or bongos can be a great way to work out aggression or tension after a tough day.

Strumming a guitar or expressing emotions through songwriting can also be tremendously cathartic.

Harmonicas have proven helpful for music therapy because they are conducive to deep breathing, which naturally alleviates anxiety.

But don’t forget about the instrument everyone can play; the voice. Singing along to music can be wonderfully therapeutic, whether you consider yourself a good singer or not. If you’re self-conscious, sit somewhere secluded in the car, or wait until the house is empty, and sing the stress away.

 

5. Dinner Time Tunes—

Listening to music while preparing food can turn a nightly chore into a positively purifying process.

Sometimes after a long day, cooking dinner is the last thing in the world we feel like doing, but music can lift our spirits and revitalize this task.

Light, calming background music played during the meal can also soothe everyone at the table—just make sure it’s not loud enough to compete with conversation.

 

6. Musical Meditation—

Meditating to music can be done while sitting in a classic meditation pose with a visual focal point, lying comfortably on the floor with closed eyes, in a warm bath, or anywhere you feel the most relaxed.

Slow your breathing, and allow yourself to unwind until you are thinking about nothing but the music, clearing the mind and body of all anxiety and negativity.

 

Our hectic world, jobs and personal lives can often create chaos and inner turmoil, but living in a constant state of fear and worry can damage our physical and psychological health. Try to incorporate some of the music therapy techniques above into your day to release tension so you can stay healthy, happy and stress-free.

Advertisements

Make It Move: 5 Ways to Crank-Up Your Middle-Aged Metabolism

yoga-263673_960_720

 

With age comes wisdom, but some of us would gladly trade a bit of that hard-earned knowledge for the body we took entirely for granted in our 20s. Joints start to ache as we get older, muscles are pulled more easily, and perhaps the worst thing of all that happens is the slowing down of our once-speedy metabolisms.

Like a lot of things we’ve learned about in life, this simply isn’t fair, but the good news is that there are many things we can do to stay in shape as we age. We may have to work a little harder to get there than when we were younger, but it is still entirely possible to maintain a fit and healthy physique.

 

Below are 5 top tips to speed up a sluggish middle-aged metabolism:

 

1. Set a Schedule—

Some people like to eat 6 small meals a day, and some choose the traditional 3, but the most recent research has shown the amount of meals per day actually doesn’t matter as much as we once thought – calories are calories.

If maintaining even blood sugar levels is mandatory, multiple, mini-meals may be your smartest choice, but if you’re a 3-squares-a-day kind of person, that’s okay, too.

However, no matter how often you choose to eat, the most important thing is consistency: set an eating schedule and stick to it. When your body feels deprived, it goes into starvation mode, which lowers metabolism, so let it know what to expect and deliver the goods on time.

 

2. Muscle Up, Buttercup—

In addition to increasing bone mineral density, adding weightlifting to your workout routine can build muscles, which automatically increases resting metabolic rate.

Strength training exercises can also build up muscles around aching joints to take the pressure off of them, reducing strain and pain.

When starting a weightlifting regimen, remember that you don’t recover as quickly as your younger self, so start slow. If you can’t do 15-20 repetitions, lower the weight, and gradually work up to it. Pushing yourself too hard can result in an injury, which will send you frustrated and limping back to the beginning.

 

3. Make More Movement—

Your days of circling the parking lot, vying for the up-front parking are over. If you want to boost your metabolism, one of the best ways to do this is to create reasons to go the long way – like parking at the back of the lot. On purpose.

If you work in a building with an elevator, make friends with the stairs; they will thank you by burning calories and building muscles. Finding a walking buddy to get some head-clearing and fat-burning exercise on your lunch break is another great idea.

If you can get up and walk around while on the phone, even pacing while you chat is an excellent way to sneak in more movement.

 

4. Protein is Your Pal—

Studies have proven that protein not only assists in the building of muscles, it makes us feel more satisfied than carbohydrates, which can cut down on daily calories consumed.

Try to include a little protein with every meal for increased feelings of fullness and steadier glucose levels to eliminate hunger-binging.

High-protein yogurt (such as Greek) can be especially helpful for weight loss, as it also contains probiotics to bolster good intestinal flora and assist in digestion.

 

5. Slow Down to Speed Up—

The stress hormone cortisol is a common carbohydrate-craving culprit that can cause extra weight gain, especially in the belly area. Not getting enough sleep can also increase levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite.

The solution to this hormonal weight gain double whammy is difficult for many: making sleep a priority, and getting a minimum of 7 hours per night. But no matter how hectic your life may be, it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep.

Yoga and meditation are also wonderful ways to stretch, relax, soothe the soul and de-stress. And if nature eases your mind, gardening or taking a hike somewhere green can work wonders, as well.

 

If you’ve noticed you can’t eat as much as before without gaining weight, and the ways you used to stay in shape are no longer working: don’t give up. Try some of the ideas above, and move your metabolism back into a higher, fat-fighting range to keep your body burning calories like a champ and feeling great.