De-Stress… Don’t Think!‏

De-Stress… Don’t Think!‏


How long has it been since you put on a good pair of headphones, dialed up some smooth jazz(any music without words will do) and just listened to the music?

Or is music something that just plays in the background?

You know it’s there because every once in a while your thoughts get tired and they stop working just long enough for you to notice the music – that doesn’t last long either – then it’s back to doing the laundry, taking the car to get gas, or as some people call it, “The same boring job.”

Something you must know about me is that I love jazz, all kinds, and one evening I decided to watch something that I had recorded on my DVR and in my headphones I heard some very energizing smooth jazz show up. My TV starts up with Music Choice. It was a catchy tune so I decided to let stay on and as soon as it was over I’d watch a movie.

I have always had a good ear for music. I took piano lesson from 5 to 10 years old and my teacher died of cancer. That was the first time that someone I liked very much died. I never took another lesson. My dad taught me 4 chords on his guitar and after hours of practice, my sister, Jean and I placed second in a local talent show. We ended up singing on a weekly local radio program. We were known as Larry and Jeannie.

I played cornet in the high school band until my asthma got the best of me. I switched to snare drums. I had two semesters of “Music Appreciation” while in high school. When I was in the Navy I was in the drum and bugle corp. Practice got me out of nearly all inspections because we practiced while the other sailors had to shine their shoes and look impeccable.

I was stationed in Adak, Alaska for 18 months – by choice, I might add – and volunteered to be a late night DeeJay on AFRS (Armed Services Radio). After the Navy my very first job was at a radio station that was just going on the air. That was in a tiny town called Irvine, Kentucky. I was the very first voice on the air. I stayed in radio broadcasting for a little more than twelve years.

Got the point? Music has always been an important part of my life although I still can’t play the piano, or guitar, or cornet. or drums. 😉

I LOVE jazz! However, it usually is just music in the background while I work. I rarely ever sit down with the intention of just listening to one of the nearly 600 jazz CDs I have. Tonight, I never got around to watching a movie. I settled into my recliner as I thought, “I have so many things I Want to do and so little time.” Even though I was trying to concentrate and relax and just listen to the music my mind took side trips. This time I noticed side trips were happening. It’s easier to just let your mind wander from thought to thought than to know that you need to take a break and just de-stress.

With the music still in my ears I began to wonder if I could actually “listen” to the music and only the music and not have my mind trying to interrupt again and again. I began by taking a few deep breaths (do that now – feels good, right?).

I began focusing on one particular instrument in the band, then another. Deciding to do that kept my interest in the music. For about the first 15 minutes my thoughts would not let me focus totally on the music. I once caught my self thinking, “I really ought to check my e-mail or check in at Facebook.” Another time, I realized that my feet were keeping time with the music. As I kept trying… I got totally into the music. I was beginning to really relax and truly enjoy the music.

All I was thinking about was the music that was causing me to think less about anything else. Everything was okay, until I thought that. 😉 I was really enjoying the music, hearing all the notes, following the drums, then the sax, noting the percussionist, etc. That went on for about 2 hours. In the end I was so relaxed and feeling stress-free that I was beginning to get drowsy. Started to go straight to bed, but instead, here I am putting my thoughts about the experience into words thinking they might help you de-stress.

For me it was a great process that made me stop tapping my feet, thinking about the stack of files on my desk and in the end, I was relaxed and inspired and darn near ready to hit the sack!

When you are feeling stressed your mind goes a little wacky – it’s just a big bundle of thoughts, each trying to get or keep your attention. When I made my self focus on the music, I had a feeling of being in control again. It felt good. Why not try it?

Set aside a time when you know you won’t be interrupted – turn off your cell (and your computer), sit back, put some of your favorite music without words on (words distract you), and prepare to exercise the discipline to not think… just listen, until the practice of being totally aware and present spreads to all areas of your body. I saw this as a musical form of meditation. This process helps you perform tasks more skilfully, makes you emotionally resilient, guides your spiritual paths and improves your relationships.

Why wouldn’t you want that?

One more thing. I said all that to say this, “effective listening” is a prerequisite to having a healthy love relationship.

Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Speak Your Mind


Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care