Blogging · nonfiction · strength

The Strength of Music

This past week has been darker than most. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine. It also goes out to the people of Russia who don’t want this war any more than the people of Ukraine do.

With all this pain in the world, it was hard for me to come up with an uplifting subject for my weekly post here. Then I thought, music! Music is so strong. It resonates with everyone. Music can be soothing, healing, calming or it can be passionate, thrilling, and forceful.

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Music is also very personal. It has many genres, so there is something for everyone. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like music, do you? They might like one type of music over another but what ties us all together in this world is music.

Some of the benefits of listening to music:

  • Help you rest better
  • Lift your mood
  • reduce stress
  • Improve your overall health

Did you know there are professional Music Therapists? Yes, it’s true! These are people who are trained to help you find ways to use music for your mental health. This type of therapist learns how to use music-making and listening to help people understand and process their emotions.

But you don’t necessarily need a therapist. You can also use music on your own to improve your mental well-being. I think a lot of us do this already.

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The best music for stress reduction is the kind that works for you. Find something with an upbeat rhythm, something like 60 beats per minute is recommended. Many people also find that Celtic, Native American, and Indian string or flute music tends to have a calming effect.

Again, it’s personal. Find what works for you! I think this is the best kind of research, try different genres, something you haven’t heard before, or something you thought you wouldn’t like. You might surprise yourself with what you find.

Create a mood playlist. If you’re feeling down, anxious, or upset, find a track that expresses how you feel. Feel those emotions and let the lyrics resonate with you. Then, gradually shift your listening choices so that the music takes you into a happier or calmer place. This is a popular technique used by music therapists.

Who hasn’t been hurt or angered and then listened to music that supports that feeling? I know I have. Just don’t let yourself linger in that dark mood. Slowly start introducing more uplifting and calming music to your rotation. Soon you feel better and happier and can look at a situation with fewer strong feelings clouding your judgment.

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Just remember, music can be a powerful tool in your mental health toolbox but it’s not a replacement for a trained therapist if you have a deeper need. Never be ashamed to need mental health!

Have you used music to heal yourself?

Blogging · Meditation types · nonfiction

Meditation: What kind is best for you?

Meditation sounds like some New Age stuff but it’s been around for thousands of years. During my research, I’ve come across over a dozen different mediations. So, what is Meditation and how can it help you?

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Personally, mediation used to help me through migraines. I used to get them almost every week when I was a teenager. I didn’t know about ‘Meditation’ back then, this was in the late sixties, early seventies. Most people never even heard of meditation back then, I know I didn’t. It was later in life when I learned what I had been doing is a form of meditation that helps with pain.

Thankfully I haven’t had a migraine for many years now. I still meditate though, just for different reasons. Now, I use it to stay calm in stressful situations. It has also helped me find peace with the passing of my late husband. It’s certainly not a ‘cure’ for things but it definitely helps keep you calm and centered.

 Meditation has been shown to be helpful in taming stress and anxiety, reducing cardiovascular risk factors, managing chronic pain, and improving sleep.

I won’t go into specific details about each and every type of meditation in this post. I will write a post for each type of meditation going forward. Right now this is a sort of introduction to it.

Do you have to dedicate hours to meditation to achieve any benefits from it? NO, you don’t. Even as few as five or ten minutes will work. I have found it just takes practice. Like most things in life, if you want to become proficient in something, you practice it.

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Do you need to have a specific place to be able to meditate? NO, you don’t. That’s one of the wonderful things about this, you can literally do it anywhere! Hell, I’ve done it in the bathroom. It’s just anywhere you can find that is quiet and lets you concentrate. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor with your hands doing that “ohmmmm” thing and emptying your mind. I find it almost impossible to completely empty my mind so I believe it’s not about perfection, it’s about training our minds not to wander so much. Just sit or stand relaxed and focus inside your mind and body.

Bottom line, which form of meditation is right for you? Answer: Whichever works for you! Whichever one you will do! Relax and experiment until you come up with what feels right for you and which fits with what you need. I don’t really think there is a wrong way of doing it.

In the coming months, I will write about various different types of meditation and how they can help you. Below is a list of types of meditation I will discuss in further detail in future posts. I will also discuss what beginners can do to start! If you are interested in any particular one feel free to let me know and I will make sure it moves up the list!

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Cultivation practices
  • Guided imagery
  • Movement meditation
  • Future visualization meditation
  • Gratitude meditation
  • Forest bathing (my personal favorite)
  • Body scan meditation

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If I find any others in future research that sounds interesting I will add them to the list. Hope you will join me in discovering how many ways you can do meditation to help yourselves be the best you can be!

Blogging · nonfiction · writing

A New Old Blog

I’ve been blogging for a long time now. The last few years were tough for me and lots of other people. Almost three years ago my husband died and I was in a dark place for a while. Then Covid came along. I slipped further into a dark place.

Pixabay

I stayed active on Facebook but not much else. All the dark news. The dark politics. It seemed like everywhere I looked there was darkness.

I got tired of darkness. By nature, I’m usually a very optimistic person but the last few years drew me to a place I didn’t want to be. So, I took a hard look at what I DID want and decided I had enough of dark and dreary.

A couple of friends kept asking me when I was going to start writing again. Or if I was going to continue blogging, or both. Thank you for being such good friends. Especially my best friend, Linda. She had faith in me, even when my faith was gone. So, I decided to come back to blogging. I missed it too. I missed having some sort of purpose to get up every morning, besides my dog, Sam, and my cats.

So here I am!

The blog may be old but I’m changing directions with it. It’s going to be light, airy, and full of positivity. There will be sections on meditation, zen, and just all around chilling out. The more I think of things the more I will add to the blog. Oh, there will also be an advice column! Hey, I’ve lived a relatively long life (yeah I’m old), I’ve experienced a lot, good and bad. I’m also opinionated. Ha! Plus, my friend Linda put this idea in my head so blame her!

We are going to have fun while being positive! Believe me, this is NOT going to be your normal “feel good” blog! Not with me at the helm. LOL Nope, this is going to center on fun, lightness, and love. Love for self, love for animals, love for others.

There will also be stories. Stories of hope, of light, of new beginnings, and maybe, just maybe a few with a slightly supernatural feel. So those of you (Marlene, wink wink) who enjoyed my story writing, these are dedicated to you!

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If you have any suggestions, or ideas to make this blog full of love let me know! I have a contact page which you can find on the top of my blog. This will also work for questions for the advice column. Ask any question about anything, if I don’t know a good answer I’m sure I could help you find one. Don’t be shy! If you prefer to ask anonymously you can! No judgments.

Let’s be a beacon of peace in a world of turmoil!

Blogging

Under Construction

Remember me? I’m back! I took a three-year pause from blogging after my husband died. Now, I’m back and want to blog about fun things. After the rough three years when I dealt with my husband’s passing, then Covid, and all the stuff that comes with that, I thought it was time for something uplifting.

I want this blog to be someplace people go for smiles, laughter, and good vibes. To my readers who are still following, thank you for sticking with me! For new readers, welcome! I hope you will enjoy the blog and smile and have fun.

To the friends that have convinced me to start my blog up again, thank you! I love you guys!

For a little bit, you will probably come across some funky stuff as I work on the blog and relearn how to do things on WordPress. It’s been a while. There will be a few changes, some parts of the blog will go away while I add other parts.

Also, the name of the blog will be changing! I’m naming it: Life, Love & Strength.

So go on! Enjoy yourselves!

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