Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Practice: De-Stressing With Music

photo by Patricia Herlevi
Employing Music to Untangle Your Nerves

We've all had those days where every muscle and tendon in our bodies seems to have tied themselves in knots.  The head throbs, and one more loud noise could send us into a dark place, well, literally, if you end up with a migraine (like I do).  And those of you out there who work in the healing profession or in the arts lean towards oversensitivity to stimuli causing you to feel the stress of this burdened planet more than others.  I know, I'm one among you.  But because of my acute sensitivity, I learned how to employ the healing power of music in my life.

The problem is that someone could be extremely sensitive and not know it.  I went most of my life, until my late thirties before I knew why certain stimuli left me with a pounding head and a nauseated stomach.  I thought my jangled nerves were just a normal after-effect of living in the modern world, not that I cared to live in such a world with loud airplanes flying overhead and fire engine sirens disturbing my rare peace of mind.

So here are some signs to look for that you suffer from acute sensory sensitivity (that's my own term).  After meditation, deep sleep, or relaxing in a quiet place, you feel actual sickness in the form of nausea, dizziness, nervous tension, or get a headache after exposure to the everyday world.  You feel agitated by the timbre of certain people's voices, especially people who tend towards loud and boisterous.  It feels like the equivalent of a marching band tramping through your head.  You suffer from nervous tension on a regular basis, your muscles are usually in knots, and you find yourself wanting to retreat from the everyday world on a regular basis.  Even a work environment with all its daily stimuli gives you a headache.

I'm not a medical doctor and I don't possess a background in science.  I know about acute sensitivity because I experience it everyday and have met others in the same boat.  I tried just about everything to cope with all of it until I took a metaphysical workshop in which a woman who also was extremely sensitive told us that music acts as a saving grace.  Not only that through music, either listening to it or performing it, the sensitivities are transformed from a curse into a gift.  The main reason I can review CDs in the manner that I do is because of this sensitivity---I feel music so deeply, I can't even tell you what that's like.  Music feels like prayer or meditation, but it depends on the music.  Obviously heavy metal music is going to send me running to the nearest quiet cave. It sounds like the equivalent of an airplane flying over my house. (Please don't expose me to it).

The problem with reviewing music for a sensitive is that some music that possesses mass appeal will feel like torture.  The cells in the body rebel against some types of music and its different for each sensitive person.  Some can handle electronic sounds, others can't.  I have a hard time with the pitter patter of drum machines--I just want to scream when I hear it because this sound feels invasive to me and even controlling. And when you think along the lines of entrainment, it is controlling every cell in our bodies, leaving a residue of low vibration behind.

I'd like to come up with a list of music to recommend to you, but we're all different.  I recommend playing around with different genres, especially the world's classical and spiritual music traditions.  I'll also tell you that our moods and needs differ from day to day.  I'm mostly sensitive certain times of the month, and other times I can handle more stimuli.  So on some days salsa hits the spot, and on other days, it feels too stimulating.  Brazilian bossa nova seems to always hit the spot.  I can't tell you why though.  Remember I'm not a scientific researcher, but a sensitive journalist whose entire life has been infused in music.

I hope this essay proves helpful for you.  I feel concern for other sensitives who roam the planet without knowing that their sensitivity is a gift.  But retreating into a quiet place is necessary at times, and so is employing music to de-stress.

Some Helpful Tips:

1. Bathe your senses in silence (go to a quiet park if you must)

2. Meditation practice is necessary (with or without spiritual music)

3. Chanting helps

4. When you feel most stressed out, listen to slow to medium tempo instrumental music
(solo instrumental music is best)

5. Listen to soft music while bathing and before going to sleep

6. Spend some time listening to calming music before entering the everyday world

I don't suggests using portable players in public places.  You end up turning up the volume too loud, and have to strain to listen to the music above other noises

An alternative (if you're traveling), find a quiet place and listen to your portable player for
a few minutes only so you can wash the other energy off of you.  Again, I recommend slow tempo instrumental music.


  1. Right now I'm icing my neck. Yes. I'm sensitive. I also have a tendency to drain my adrenals. Also, prefer quiet. Love Enya and Yanni...Bach and Mozart.

  2. Thank you for addressing something I've lived with all of my life, which made me feel weird but also made me a musically inclined poet.

  3. Hi Shelly and Mary, you might be interested in a book I just finished reading, "The Great Shift" which is a metaphysical book featuring channeled interviews.

    You both sound like Lightworkers to me, who tend towards sensitivity. Something like one to ten percent of the human population falls into this category, but I think it's growing.

    I've not listened to Enya or Yanni, but certainly Bach and Mozart are in my collection.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.