Lhasha Tizer, a wellness coach who teaches sound meditation at the Miraval Resort in Catalina, Arizona, believes that listening to nature's sounds, a kind of music in itself, may have been the way our earliest ancestors meditated away stress. "Those rhythms create a trancelike state," she says. (In fact, researchers at the University of Louisville School of Medicine found that a CD of natural sounds—birdsong, ocean surf—markedly shortened the amount of time it took people to physiologically recover from a stressful stimulus when compared with white noise.) "Today, with the way we work and the cacophonic noise we're exposed to, we don't have such an automatic gateway to help us focus and settle down," Tizer points out.
To re-create that trancelike feeling through music, she suggests building up a sound repertoire. Start by being receptive to the sounds around you. Notice how noises affect you—children playing, horns honking, wind blowing through the trees. Gradually begin seeking out simple music with a clear percussive element. Pay attention to the beats you like, identifying the moods they evoke, and use those to guide you in choosing increasingly advanced melodies that carry away your anxiety.
In time, you'll not only have a database of meditative music but, within it, be able to match your playlist to the mood you want to be in. Ultimately, a good rhythmic rest—and for that matter, any brief escape from a world where you always have to do to a place where you can just be—should make you feel like getting up and dancing.
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