Originally published with the CityMoms on 10/29
Do you notice after you listen to a song and have a good cry you feel better? You probably already use music to release stress and feel more connected to yourself. We’ve got four ways you can experiment with music to release stress while connecting more deeply to yourself and your family. (Bonus? They’re from an actual music therapist)
Here are 4 ways to try using music as therapy:
1. Use your hairbrush as a mic and sing a favorite song!
Ok so it doesn’t have to be a hairbrush, but you get the idea. Don’t worry about choosing something super calming or classical. Music that is familiar to you and your family is best because you already connect with it. If you aren’t comfortable belting Lizzo, hum - or whistle! Practice taking a deep breath in and try to make it to the end of the lyric. Notice how you feel when you sing and focus your attention on lyrics.
2. Drumroll please! Tap along to something upbeat.
Ever notice that you bang on the steering wheel while listening to your favorite jam in the school pick-up line? Your thoughts might be racing (because #MomLife), and drumming is your body’s way of saying, “slow down.” Drumming or tapping helps calm the brain. The fancy term for what you’re doing is bilateral stimulation, but all it means is you are using both sides of your brain at the same time. This calms your mind and can help you process thoughts more clearly.
3. Bust a move with your mom sway!
You know the sway…You use it with your babes to help them calm down. You might even notice your “mom sway” while waiting in line at the grocery store as you run through endless to-do lists. Engaging your whole body in movement produces feel-good hormones, regulates your breathing, and can help you feel more present. Dancing to a favorite song with your family can shift the energy in your home in a way that is powerful for everyone.
4. Dinner time feel stressful? Play music at the table.
Is dinner a time that brings extra anxiety into your home? The kids won’t sit down, get upset because this dinner “isn’t their favorite,” or are bickering with their one another (mama, we’ve all been there). You don’t have to play kid’s music at dinner to capture their attention! Did you know smooth jazz - or something like Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” - can help calm the mood for the whole family? Allowing everyone to cut loose (yes, even at the table!) to calming music can increase focus and attention at the table while sharing the moment.
Music is a powerful tool that is always at your fingertips. We hope you feel empowered to use these tools as little experiments and remember - not everything will work for you, and that’s okay!
Let us know your favorite jam to unwind to or a song that always get your family groovin’.
Original work at The CityMoms: https://thecitymoms.org/blog/4-ways-to-use-music-as-therapy