Have you ever been in a slump? Have you ever felt like you’re living in survival mode? Have you ever struggled to build the energy and stamina to start fulfilling more of your potential? These are very personal questions, but the good news is that there may be a very simple tool to assist if you or someone you know is going through a rough time like this. Know what it is? (We won’t be surprised if you’ve already guessed it.)
It’s music. As we’ve said before, music is incredibly powerful. This time, however, we’re not just talking about the benefits of learning to read and play music, but the benefits of listening.
We have a very special treat: a song written by our own Maree Zollinger. Give it a listen! (Skip past the first 9 seconds of silence and it will begin.) #MyTimeToShine
Music has a powerful impact on our thoughts and emotions. Have you ever noticed how thoughts and emotions seem to influence each other? When we think a certain way, it leads us to feel a certain way. Our thoughts have a huge effect on how we feel about ourselves, others, and life experiences. On the other hand, how we feel seems to provide evidence supporting how we think. It is similar to a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it goes further than that. Our emotions really do influence our thoughts, like how we are more inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt when we are happy or more quick to judge or get defensive when we already feel skeptical or offended.
How can we take advantage of this cycle to help us feel good about ourselves, increase our energy, and work through opposition resolutely? Again: music is a great tool for this! As we previously mentioned, music affects both our thoughts and our emotions simultaneously. That makes it significantly easier to work from both ends, changing thoughts and feelings, which changes behaviors, and then ultimately changes outcomes.
Music can be particularly helpful if you struggle with things like anxiety or depression if you know what some of your triggers are. It can help serve as something of a “reset” button in some cases, or simply provide the support you need to weather the storm well rather than just survive it. That’s the point, really. By influencing our thoughts and emotions, music helps us come out of survival mode and step into thrival mode. It’s like a domino effect: thoughts and emotions influence actions; consistent actions (paired with our thoughts and feelings about those actions and their consequences) influence mood and behavior; mood and behavior over time are indications of our overall health and direction. It all starts with those thoughts and feelings, which makes it crucial for us to intentionally influence them with truth and positivity as much as possible.
Want to arm yourself against anxiety and depression? Or prepare yourself for the storms of life? Perhaps enable yourself to be strengthened by opposition rather than impeded by it? Choose your music wisely. Be intentional about it! Prepare now: plan ahead for struggles you know may be coming your way and create playlists that set the tone you want for those moments. Feeling down? Listen to your self-esteem building playlist. Need to be humbled? Listen to your playlist that reminds you about serving others and treating them with love.
You may even want to try writing a song yourself. Another reason music is so powerful is because it is often written by people experiencing similar struggles. Their music tells the story we long to speak ourselves. Let your opposition, whatever form it takes, bring out the best in you. Let it change you for the better. Then, write down your experience! Tell your story! Empower others with the truths you learned.
Not keen on writing music? Learn to play some of the songs you listen to. Not a musician? Don’t play an instrument? Sing along. Singing the lyrics deepens their impact. It’s one thing to hear powerful truths; it’s a whole new level of impact to hear yourself declare them. It doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune or not. You speak the words to the rhythm of the music if you want. Still want more? Try dancing. You don’t have to be Beyonce to feel the beat and move along with it. Just be yourself. If you’re feeling goofy, be goofy. If it’s empowering, pump your fist in the air. Let your body serve as an extension of the music–another form it takes, another expression of its message.
Whatever walk of life you are in, there is music to walk it with you. We encourage you to use music as the tool it can be. Give yourself every opportunity to be your best. Start fresh if you need to. Take time to heal if you need it, but start now. You won’t be sorry.
Music and article by Maree Zollinger