Enjoy Music With Friends

Jesus etc2

Playing music in a group with a healthy mind set and environment can be a great method of relinquishing built up stress and anxiety. Start a band, join a choir or orchestra or just listening to music with others can increase positive thinking and make us feel connected as we often feel isolated by stress. Whatever you choose to do just make sure that everyone involved is there for the same reason and purpose; to enjoy themselves and have fun. Ensuring this ideology means there is no room for isolation or fear of being scrutinized.

Engaging in music with others whether you are playing together or listening evokes a close physiological connection with those participants as you experience the effects of music together. If done regularly, listening and/or playing music in a group can be a great outlet to relieve stress and break the mundane patterns of the day.

So why not watch the latest live video from Friends of Friends with some mates. This time we have Lachlan X. Morris performing his original song, Amen (Untitled) please enjoy!

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Lachlan X. Morris – Amen (Untitled):

Follow Lachlan:

Lachlan X. Morris Facebook

Lachlan X. Morris Bandcamp

Lachlan X. Morris Unearthed

Your Sonic Environment

photo-1430528281676-cc20d213dc35

If you have been following our blog you would have hopefully formed a successful outlet for stress using our video series and the following music relaxation strategies:

But what is just as important as these methods is the location in which you spend your relaxation time.

When choosing/creating a location for this it is important that you are physically away from the cause of stress. Meaning that if you are for example studying in your room don’t spend your relaxation time in your bedroom.

We suggest going outside to get some fresh air and finding your special spot, one that your can be alone and have space to yourself. If not even just going to a different part of your home can be helpful. Be conscious of the sound and atmosphere of the environment you are relaxing in. Is it noisy, crowded, unsanitary or make your uncomfortable? If so, choose somewhere that allows you to feel completely relax and have your own personal space, away from unnecessary distractions. Listen to some of your favourite music, maybe watch the Friends of Friends live videos, it up to you its your relaxation time.

When you create a relaxation space in your home, make sure it radiates positivity. Allow a lot of space so you don’t feel confined and perhaps decorate it with positive imagery and visuals that calm you and make sure there is a couch or somewhere to lye down that is comfortable incase you need to rest while you relax.

When you return to your study area, ease into it, don’t rush or you run the risk of overwhelming yourself again. Allow your body and mind to make that transition so that your relaxation time has the optimum effect to increase the effectiveness of your study.

Don’t forget to add the latest Friends of Friends latest video to your relaxation time, this week it is a live performance by Ryan Sorensen with an original song Major Toms.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Ryan Sorensen – Major Toms: 

Follow Ryan:

My Perfect Sunday Facebook

My Perfect Sunday Unearthed

Soren Music Facebook

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.com

Rethink With Music

photo-1444703686981-a3abbc4d4fe3

We are hardwired to think the worse in every situation. Since we have an instinctive need to survival our brain has more neurons assigned to respond and processes more negative impressions than positive ones. This thinking might of come in handy when we were in the wild and had to constantly be aware of predators, but now as discussed in our earlier blog “Can Stress Kill You?”, this stress manifests into unhealthy anxiety about work and study. This is why we tend to hold on to negative thoughts longer and subconsciously which reinforces our anxiety and can overwhelm us with stress. This is the reason that its so hard to pull yourself out of those slumps when we feel submerged in stress and anxiety.

This is why it is important to in a sense reformat our brain to enforce positive stimuli rather than negative ones and music can help. We must replace negative thought patterns that encourage stress with positive ones. Create your own phrases and/or sentences of positive affirmations that promote self assurance. Here are some examples that you can use:

  • I can do anything I put my mind to
  • I can accomplish anything
  • I can create inner peace

You must repeat these daily not just in times where you feel overwhelmed but whenever your mind beings to drift. Try adding music when you repeat these positive affirmations as it engages more areas of the brain. These thoughts also works with the ‘feel good’ hormone dopamine that is released in your brain when you engage with music and gives your body a sense of satisfaction. We suggest repeating you positive affirmations whilst watching Friends of Friends latest video, which is a live performance by Lachlan X. Morris covering Wilco’s Jesus, Etc.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Jesus, Etc – [Wilco Cover]:

Follow Lachlan:

Lachlan X. Morris Facebook

Lachlan X. Morris Bandcamp

Lachlan X. Morris Unearthed

Sources

Fitzpatrick, F 2015, ‘12 Ways to Reduce Stress with Music’, helpguide, August 30 <http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/12-ways-to-reduce-stress-with-music.htm> (Accessed September 18)

Start The Day Right

photo-1428954376791-d9ae785dfb2d

The way you wake up is a precedent for how you approach the rest of your day. If you wake up to the sound of a buzzing alarm or blaring clock radio you are beginning the day in a very stressful state and may have difficulty in forming a positive attitude to get you through the day.

Perhaps set a calming song as an alarm that will ease you into waking up. And before you turn on the TV or scroll through mindless news on Facebook or other social media applications put on your favourite playlist or have music videos playing in the background when you get ready.

We suggest playing this weeks Friends of Friends video, which is a live performance by Lachlan X. Morris of his original song The Goods.

In addition to this we have also created a Rise With Music playlist of our most relaxing live videos to help you wake up right with calming and soothing music.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Lachlan X. Morris – The Goods:

Follow Lachlan:

Lachlan X. Morris Facebook

Lachlan X. Morris Bandcamp

Lachlan X. Morris Unearthed

Rise With Music Playlist:

PLAYLIST

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.com

Singing Is Meditation?

photo-1421217336522-861978fdf33a

Just like yoga or meditation, singing your favourite song is a form of relaxation you can do daily that will improve your general wellbeing.

Singing is a great way to regulate your breathing and promote relaxation during your daily activities. Even if you hum, whistle or belt out the song in your head you are releasing that ‘feel good’ chemical, Dopamine.  As discussed in our previous blog “How does music affect your brain?”, Dopamine is released into your body when you engage with music and gives you a sense of satisfaction almost like a high. This is fantastic as it gives you an outlet for any stress that might be effecting your mental health.

We suggest picking songs that calm you and put you in a good mood this will help you relax.

Listen to this week’s live video from Hilary Geddes which is a cover of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry, a classic and one you definitely know, so sing along!

See how different you feel after singing this out loud, maybe at work, uni or when you’re alone in your room.

Remember every time you sing along and hum your favourite tune your are conducting your own personal form of meditation.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Hilary Geddes – No Woman No Cry [Bob Marley cover]:

Follow Hilary:

Hilary Geddes Unearthed 

Sources

Fitzpatrick, F 2015, ‘12 Ways to Reduce Stress with Music’, helpguide, August 30 <http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/12-ways-to-reduce-stress-with-music.htm (Accessed September 18)

Feature image courtesy of gratisography.com

Do Musicians Have Superior Brains?

208H

Can learning an instrument actually make your brain more superior? And are their any benefits to your health? Well to answer this we have to first look at what music does to your brain.

In our previous blog ‘How does music affect your brain?’ we discussed the inner workings of how our brain reacts and is chemical altered when we listen music. Music engages almost all areas of the brain at once, especially the motor, visual and auditory cortices. Structured practice in learning an instrument strengthens these brain functions which allows us to apply that strength to different activities. The core difference between just listening to music and actually learning to play an instrument is that the later involves fine motor skills. This is controlled by both hemispheres of the brain, meaning that when you learn an instrument both the creative and the logical areas of your brain are simultaneously being utilised. This increases activity in the corpus callosum, the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing messages to translate across the brain quicker and through more various routes. This means that musicians can solve problems more effectively and creatively in both academic and social settings.

Over the last decade neuroscientists have been observing the benefits of learning an instrument when its comes to problem solving our ability process and make sense of information. Since creating music involves understanding it emotional content, musicians typically have higher levels of executive function or cognitive control. An umbrella term for the interlinked tasks include planning, strategising, memory and attention to detail and involves simultaneous analyses of both cognitive and emotion aspects.

Therefore when you compose, improvise or cover a piece of music it acts as an outlet for built up anxiety and stress and can help you express and process your own emotions much more effectively then any other art. So how does this help me? Well if you start learning to play an instrument you you be building a very effective outlet for stress from study and work that will improve your mental health and general wellbeing.

What instrument are you interested in learning? Check out our Friends of Friends sessions for some inspiration. Also see below for some great links to help get you started!

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Beginner Guitar Lesson:

Beginner Piano Lesson:

Beginner Harmonica Lesson:

Beginner Drums Lesson:

Sources:

Collins, A 2014, ‘How playing an instrument benefits your brain’ <http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins> (Accessed October 1)

Counseling Center at Heritage 2013, ‘The Benefits of Music to Mental Health’ <http://www.counselingatheritage.com/the-benefits-of-music-to-mental-health/> (Accessed October 1)

Featured image courtesy of gratisography.com

Assigning Time

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 12.36.34 AM

When you get home from uni do you best to not just quickly rush into assignments because your brain needs some sheduled ‘down time’.

“Ease your transition from the challenging world outside, and slip into the healing world of sound” (Fitzpatrick 2015).

When creating an effective ‘down time’ ritual it is best to physically and mentally distance yourself from your studies and do something unrelated and relax. When you have your ‘down time’ is completely up to you, it could be mid studying, after uni or after work doesn’t matter, just as long as you take time out to unwind and de-stress yourself. Put all the study and work commitments on hold and replace the time and energy you would usually spend worrying about them with music relaxation time.

Include this weeks Friends of Friends music video as apart of your daily down time ritual and practice “Active Listening” and you will have yourself an effective outlet for stress.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Hilary Geddes – I Got Yours:

Follow Hilary:

Hilary Geddes Unearthed 

Sources

Fitzpatrick, F 2015, ‘12 Ways to Reduce Stress with Music’, helpguide, August 30 <http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/12-ways-to-reduce-stress-with-music.htm&gt; (Accessed September 18)

Submerged: The 4 Warning Signs of Stress

photo-1439902315629-cd882022cea0

Young Adults (18-35) reported the highest levels of stress and distress compared to any other age group. With with one in five reporting that current stress was having a strong to very strong impact on mental health. So how can you tell when you’re in a state of overwhelming stress that significantly effects your wellbeing? Here are the four signs to look out for:

1. Constant Worrying & Anxiety

When your are in a state of constant stress you feel constantly worried as anxious thoughts race through your head making you unable to concentrate on the task at hand. You then develop poor judgement and decision making skills and can only see the negative outcomes in the situations being presented to you.

2. Moodiness

If you are at the stage where you are at risk of chronic stress you emotional state shifts. You become irritable, moody, short tempered and feel an inability to relax which can cause some to isolate themselves from others. You feel completely overwhelmed because you have not taken time out to relax and to distant yourself from whats worrying you. You believe you are completely submerged in anxiety and stress that you begin to feel a sense of loneliness and depression as you distance yourself from everyone around you.

3. Physical Symptoms

Mental stress can cause physical pain as it starts taking a toll on your body. You develop aches and pains some feeling chest pains with rapid heart beats from anxiety. Nausea and dizziness are common symptoms of stress with some individuals developing diarrhea or constipation. Your body is drained of energy from constant worrying and so you become lethargic and weak which opens up your immune system to frequent cold and flues. In this state many have a loss of their sex drive.

4. Sleep Loss & Nervous Habits

Without you taking time out to collect yourself and relax, stress can cause sever changes in your behaviour. Some develop a loss of appetite as a result of over stress whilst other may eat more than they usually do. Victims of stress suffer from lack of sleep from constant worrying and anxiety which drastically impacts your cognitive skills and motor function of the brain which effects your ability to operate and tackle problem solving situations. Procrastination is a common change that overwhelming stress can cause as the person feels so overwhelmed that they fear the work that is making them so anxious and are hesitant to perform their responsibilities. It is common that suffers from stress and chronic stress develop nervous habits such as scalp picking, nail biting, pacing, teeth grinding etc. Chronic stress is not far away from when an individual feels the need to use alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs just to cope.

At any one of these stages it is important to make time to relax and distant yourself from what is causing you stress. Early intervention of scheduled relaxation time will make all the difference so an individual does not develop chronic stress. An Individual should assign time out to relax and include the Friends of Friends sessions into their relaxation ritual and watch the calming live music videos and take a break from what is causing them stress.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of severe stress and need treatment it is important to see a doctor or a health care professional to help determine if your symptoms are stress-related.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Sources

APS National Office 2013, ‘Tips for Managing Everyday Stress’ <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKY6YrKamqM#t=55> (Accessed September 15).

Australian Psychological Society 2015, ‘Tips for Managing Everyday Stress’, <https://www.psychology.org.au/psychologyweek/stresstips> (Accessed September 15).

American Psychological Association 2015, ‘ Understand Chronic Stress’, <http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-chronic-stress.aspx> (Accessed September 15).

Casey, L 2014, Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2014, Australian Psychological Society, <https://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/2014-APS-NPW-Survey-WEB-reduced.pdf>

Segal, J, Smith, M, Segal, R, Robinson, L 2015, ‘Stress Symptoms, Signs, and Causes’, <http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-causes-and-effects.htm> (Accessed September 14).

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.com

Active Listening

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 4.18.40 PM

Studies suggest that when relaxing with music it is important to become actively involved in the listening process.

“Active Listening engages more areas of the human brain and resonates more deeply in the cells of our bodies” (Fitzpatrick 2015).

By excluding all other distractions and by giving the music source your undivided attention you are participating in active listening. Through this process the activity of listening to music becomes a more powerful tool for relaxation because all your attention is focused on something entertaining and your are not thinking about anything else including study.

“to stop and actively listen to a piece of music, can serve as a great tune up–to de-stress, recharge, or simply enjoy a musical journey through the fields of your imagination” (Fitzpatrick 2015).

So before you watch this weeks music video take your laptop or smartphone and move to a different location from where you have been studying perhaps outside.

Put your headphones on, minimise other tabs, slow down your breathing and engage yourself completely in the video. You can also just listen to the music and play the video with your close your eyes.

After the video is done take a few moments before continuing your study.

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Ryan Sorensen – Mother & Father [Broods cover]: 

Follow Ryan:

My Perfect Sunday Facebook

My Perfect Sunday Unearthed

Soren Music Facebook

Sources

Fitzpatrick, F 2015, ‘12 Ways to Reduce Stress with Music’, helpguide, August 30 <http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/12-ways-to-reduce-stress-with-music.htm&gt; (Accessed September 18)

How does music affect your brain?

photo-1441716844725-09cedc13a4e7

What is music doing to your body?

Music it triggers a state of excitement in our brain in other words music is a stimulate for pleasure, but our connection to music is much more than just making us smile. Brainwaves will actually resonate with the beat of music which means that your breathing patterns and heart beat try to match the beat of the music. Humans are one of the few animals that have this response to music. Listening to music involves both hemispheres of the brain, in particular music causes a response in the part of the brain called the Hippocampus, which is responsible for long term memory. Which is the reason why our memories can be tied to particular songs.

But why does music makes us feel so good?

Well to find that out we have to understand what music does to our brain. When your hear music your body has an emotional response which triggers the release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine. If you listen to music as a reward or for relaxation purposes the “feel good” chemical Dopamine is released into your body and gives you a sense of  satisfaction almost like a high. Therefore the reason why music activates such an emotional response is because it physically changes our brain chemistry. For reason not yet know humans seem to be fundamentally wired to respond to music.

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.13.01 AM

Check out this fantastic video from AsapScience to find out more on what music does to your body:

Unwind with Music

-Friends of Friends

Sources

AsapScience 2012, ‘The Scientific Power of Music’

’ <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SePL2w5f6dE> (Accessed September 12).

DNews 2013, ‘How Music Affects Your Brain

’ <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpUVMpX62nw> (Accessed September 12).