Did you know there are music therapy activities you can try at home?
You probably already know that music is a powerful medium. You can deliberately harness that power to help yourself live a more meaningful, connected life. For people in addiction recovery, music is a special gift that inspires a sober life.
Music Therapy has many different approaches and activities, ranging from listening to making music yourself. Whether you’re just listening or whether you’re also making some sounds yourself, music therapy does the following things:
- Music Therapy regulates the nervous system creating deep feelings of wellbeing, health, and relaxation
- Music Therapy accesses the part of you that feels unconditional peace, harmony, and connection to something bigger
- Music Therapy allows you to express your inner experiences and to find your inner world mirrored in the expressions of others
Here are 6 easy Music Therapy Activities that you can try right away. Have fun!
You’ve probably made a playlist of songs before. What if you did it with the extra intention of creating a specific therapeutic effect for you? Making playlists for yourself can be a deeply caring activity.
Some playlists you might like to make for yourself include the following: Soothing Songs, Songs for Falling Asleep at Night, Songs with an Uplifting Positive Outlook, Songs that Make Me Feel Understood.
If you have a therapist, a fellow in recovery, or a friend to share your playlist with, that often makes the experience more complete.
Whatever you do, I think every person should make themselves a playlist of songs that make them want to sing along at the top of their lungs. (I call mine “Belters”). Singing your heart out is one of the healthiest things you can do, for your heart, your body, and of course, your soul.
2. Song Journal
Choose a song that you love and relate to very much. Copy the lyrics out into your journal. Now write for a few pages about why you love it so much. What do you connect with, why do you think this song speaks to you? If you keep digging, you may find that a lot of your life pattern can be understood through the songs that you love. What you value, what you need and long for, can be discerned in the songs you love. The loving universe can speak to us through musicians.
3. Affirmation Songs
Singing is a powerful anchor for making things real. When we sing, we experience the meaning of the words we’re saying at a deep and cellular level far longer than just speaking them out loud. So consider making yourself some Personal Affirmation Songs (could also be called Mantras or Chants).
Start with writing an affirmation that feels good to you. One of mine is “I am always Worthy, I am always Protected, I am always Loved”.
Now put that phrase to a melody (it can be one you create or one borrowed from a song you like) and sing the phrase over and over again (try for 15 minutes). Repetitive singing, aside from raising mood, purifying the body, and making you generally feel better about life, helps these words sink into your soul.
4. Drum Along
When we are out of balance emotionally, this is reflected in our biology as disturbed biorhythms and irregular brainwaves. We can balance our bodily systems (and hence our emotions) via music.
Music with a strong beat is especially good for this. If you drum along (even just tapping your own body with your fingers) to very rhythmic music, it strengthens and stabilizes your nerves, leading gradually to feelings of liveliness and harmony. This happens by way of bilateral movement and rhythmic stimulation, entraining your body to a balanced state.
5. Make Your Own Power Song
Using a song that makes you feel wonderful, capable, and strong, replace some of the lyrics to make the song even more your own.
Start by removing a few words from every line, and then replacing them to make them slightly more your own, to hear the words you need to hear. This works especially well in songs that have an easy, repetitive structure, like Amazing Grace.
I once was lost but now I’m found
was bound but now I’m free
can be altered to give you a chance to express your own experiences like so:
I once was ______ but now I’m ______
was ______ but now I’m _______
If you want to sing it to yourself, try finding the karaoke backing track version of your song and sing your new song over it, or you can just sing your new version over the original. There is a special power to songs that we sing to and for ourselves. Just as babies are soothed by mother’s voice, we are soothed by our own loving tones.
6. Record Something
Allow yourself to make an expressive sound piece of just 3-4 minutes in length, recording it on your phone and then listening back. During the 3-4 minutes, anything goes: you can record the sound of the wind, pour water back and forth into a glass, or sing and play and instrument, it doesn’t matter at all. What matters is giving yourself a container to express yourself into using sound. Just using your ears and your inborn musicality will brighten your soul and give you an infusion of natural happiness.