Music to my ears: Stress busting tip 3
I’ve been spending this week considering the subject of stress in support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018. The central question asked being “Are we coping?”
Singing for stress
In my profession as a counsellor we are actively encouraged to monitor our stress levels so that we don’t succumb to “compassion fatigue”. This is where you become indifferent to people’s distress as you burnout being a “helper”. As my private practice has grown, so have my client numbers and I did start to notice that my stress levels increased. As a result of this, I felt I had no option but to take action to de-stress if I was to continue doing the job I love. I did the usual thing, upped exercise which is always great, went for a massage, also lovely. But the thing that has given me the greatest joy and had the biggest impact on my well-being has been MUSIC (and in particularly singing!). Now I know we all do a little bit here and there (or maybe you don’t), but there is something about committing to singing by joining a group that has completely changed my mindset! Having been a member of a choir for a while now I find I’m singing all over the place and it’s so uplifting. For an hour and a half I belt out a few songs and have fun doing it. There are some wonderful community choirs around and there is bound to be one in your area. You can find them here at:
Recent research has also found that music releases dopamine, which is a feel-good chemical in the brain. It showed that by listening to their favourite music the level of dopamine in participants increased by 9%. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12135590. So just by putting on your favourite music you could get almost a 10% feel good factor increase! That’s got to be worth putting the radio on for! Or creating a playlist of your favourite tracks to listen to on your daily commute.
I’m with the band!
As for me, I’m off to listen to my favourite band of the moment The Slow Readers Club. www.theslowreadersclub.co.uk. They are the only band for whom I have willingly bought a “band” tee-shirt and learnt the song lyrics for so that I could sing my heart out at their recent gig. And you know what, I loved every minute of it.
As Confucius says “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” And that Confucius knew a thing or two! Happy Singing!