When we are stressed, self soothing with food is often the go-to strategy. And it works and it is part of normal eating. But when we move into stress eating, it can become a way to numb out rather than soothe.
Music can offer the magic of self soothing without stress eating. It is easily available, can be changed with little effort, and is something to do immediately when stress occurs. It can also help us identify and process feelings.
Music has a unique link to our emotions, so can be an extremely effective stress management tool.
As music can absorb our attention, it acts as a distraction at the same time it helps to explore emotions.
This means it can be a great aid to meditation, helping to prevent the mind wandering, says Dr. Bittman, a music researcher as reported on by Jane Collingwood .
4 Ways to Self Soothe instead of Stress Eat
Caveat: No musical talent required for effective self soothing.
- Sing it out. By singing or shouting you are taking a deep breath, getting more oxygen to your brain and disseminating the trapped energy that stress can create.
- Learn to play or get the old clarinet out of the closet. Pick an instrument…any instrument (remember the ukulele only has 3 strings) and take a lesson. As you learn to play an instrument you are creating new neural pathways in your brain and it requires focus which is a mindfulness tool.
- Listen to classical music. Even if you are a heavy rock fan, experiment with how listening to classical music can affect your mood. Learn what kinds of music or specific songs are an energy maker for you.
- Use music with meditation. The soothing power of music is well known when it comes to relaxation, think the massage table or the yoga studio. You can turn on relaxing music as the food calls out to you or the stress increases.