This is a super cool episode, if I do say so myself! Tune in to explore the power of how music can connect the mind and body and create a sense of quiet and calm. We’ll dive into the science behind how mental stimulation and meditation can help improve mental focus, clarity, and overall wellbeing. We’ll also discuss the benefits of using binaural music for meditation, and how it can help enhance the effects of meditation and your mental state. Finally, we’ll explore various techniques to help you incorporate these practices into your daily life. So join us as we explore the world of mental stimulation, meditation, and binaural music!
MINDFUL ACTION: Write down the different songs or genres of music that you prefer when you’re in different moods. Create some new playlists that you can reference when you need them!
Hz FREQUENCY LEVELS:
- Delta – 1 to 4 Hz (deep sleep and relaxation)
- Theta – 4 to 8 Hz (reduce anxiety and meditation zone)
- Alpha – 8 to 13 Hz (promote positivity, decrease stress)
- Beta – 14 to 30 Hz (increase concentration or focus)
MINDFULNESS SUCCESS STUDIO: www.bethbackes.com/studio
Connect With Me
It’s no secret that music plays an important part in my life and my meditation practice. For those of you who are newer listeners, I studied opera in undergrad, I used to be a music teacher, a musical theater kid, and was a dancer. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal to me. The purpose of this episode is to make sure that you have the opportunity to really understand and experience how music can play a huge role in your mindfulness journey. This is a cool episode, I’m so excited you are here for it! Go grab some headphones if you don’t already have them, and be ready to listen to some cool beats.
Today, I want to talk to you about how music can be a general mood booster, and how it’s used in self care, stress relief, meditation. There are a couple of reasons why I include music in the meditations that I teach and that I publish. The first being, for all of the reasons we’re going to talk about today including mental stimulation. But secondly, I think it helps us, especially beginners, to be able to better connect with meditation and feel like it’s less awkward and there’s less pressure on them to sit in complete silence. In reality, that’s what turns most people away from meditation. I think that music is a universal language that allows us to feel more comforted.
I want to acknowledge that, no, music is not always traditionally or historically used in meditation, and I try to teach proper practices without putting too much western culture into it, however, instruments that have deep vibrations are sometimes traditionally used in meditation such as crystal bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, and bells. So some sort of aural stimulation has been a part of it from the beginning.
So first, I just want to touch on how music can change, or enhance our moods. Say you’re having a bad day, and you hear your favorite song, sometimes it can just make everything seem a little better. You jam out in your car, or you speed up your walk a little bit, or you’re just showered with nostalgia when an old favorite song comes on. My husband is still shocked at how many 90’s rap songs I can recite word for word! And it’s super fun. I do it with a smile on my face every single time. It boosts my mood! What’s not to love about that?
We can also connect with music on a more sentimental level, too. When you are going through a hard time, or are experiencing grief or sadness. Music is there for you. You can connect with a sad song and feel seen. And look it up on Spotify! There are numerous playlists out there to support a season of sadness so you don’t feel so alone and can truly expose and experience the emotions. Music is incredible in that way as well. Like I said, music is a universal language.
Now before we get into the second part of this discussion, which is a little bit more scientific, let’s take a quick break.
We are going to move on to bilateral stimulation and binaural beats and music, and how they can be used to help with stress relief and meditation.
Bilateral stimulation refers to the process of stimulating both sides of the brain , individually, through their own sensory input. This type of stimulation is believed to activate neural pathways in the brain, leading to a reduction in symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Binaural beats are a form of bilateral stimulation, and they are sound waves that are designed to stimulate specific frequencies in the brain. When listened to through headphones, these beats create a calming sense, where the brain’s waves begin to match the frequency of the beats and it tries to fill in the gaps since you’re hearing different things on both sides. Some people call it brain flossing, that’s a new term to me! It’s an auditory illusion created when two different sound frequencies are played and looped separately in each ear.
If you are TikTok, binaural music has started to show up a little bit more when talking about different types of therapies and stress relief. Some of those edits are totally mind blowing, to say the least. They will get you hooked, go look them up if you can.
When combined with meditation practices, binaural beats can help to achieve a deeper level of relaxation, allowing you to more easily focus on the present moment. Which is why I like to use music in my meditations. It helps you from getting so lost in your mind.
In a moment, I am going to give you a sample of slightly more obvious binaural beats so you can really sense the different frequencies. For the meditation, I will tone it down because you should ease your way into it. I would not recommend listening to it for a long period of time when you’re just first being exposed to it.
When using binaural beats, it is important to choose music that is calming and has gentle, rhythmic tones. And like I said earlier, it’s preferable to listen to with headphones, as this will help you to get the most out of the experience and really hear the stimulation in both ears. But you can also place your phone flat under your chin to get similar sounds.
According to Healthline, binaural beats between 1 and 30 Hz supposedly create the same brain wave pattern that one would experience during meditation. If you are into this kind of stuff, I’m also posting the different Hz levels that connect your brain best to deep sleep, REM sleep, promoting positivity, and increasing concentration. And you can look up and listen to those Hz levels on YouTube.
So,go put your headphones on. And then sit and close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and just experience this sound. Here is a short sample of binaural stimulation for your brain.
Listen to the music sample here
How was that? Take a deep breath. Slowly open your eyes again, get your bearings straight. See how that feels in your body right now. Wasn’t that pretty cool? I could geek out on this stuff all day. Did you hear the pulsating rhythms separately in each ear? For me, when the beat settles in and the chord almost sounds like it’s throbbing, I feel a heaviness pushing down on my body as it settles into my mind, and then for a split second when the chords shift, my body feels 10x lighter as if I’m floating. If you do this enough you will begin to be able to feel deep within your body, how your body responds. This is why I use music in meditation. Your body and your mind feel music. And it can help them sync together better.
If you are a highly sensitive person, long periods of that could be overstimulating, so it’s best to start out slow. But if you want to listen to more, you can easily look it up on Google, Spotify, or YouTube.
And that leads into our mindful action for the week. I want you to identify your favorite songs, or different types of music that are meaningful to you and match different emotions or moods. Which ones pump you up, which ones support you when you’re going through something, which ones relax you, and so on. And if you’re motivated by this activity, I encourage you to create a few different playlists that you can easily pull up the next time you need to to help you through certain moods.
And, lastly, the next time you’re feeling stressed, consider incorporating some bilateral stimulation, or binaural music into your routine. It can be a great tool in your mindfulness toolbox to help you when you’re overwhelmed.
Alright, let’s setting in, for an immersive mind-music experience in our meditation.
Meditation For Deep Mind And Body Relaxation
Begin by finding a quiet and comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit or lie down in a relaxed position.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this deep breathing exercise three more times.
Now, imagine yourself in a peaceful and serene environment, surrounded by calm and tranquility.
As you continue to breathe deeply and relax your body, let the soothing sounds of binaural beats wash over you. Focus on your breath and the music.
Allow your mind and body to absorb the music.
Allow the sounds to envelop you, and let them guide you into a state of deep relaxation.
Breathing in, breathing out.
Imagine that with each inhale, you’re taking in peace and calm. With each exhale, release any tension or stress you may be feeling.
Breathing in, breathing out.
As you continue to breathe deeply and relax, feel the weight of your body sinking into the surface below you. Your breath is like an ocean wave, seamlessly flowing with the music.
Breathing in, and breathing out.
Allow yourself to sink deeper and deeper into relaxation, as the music continues to soothe and calm your mind and body.
Now, imagine yourself drifting off into a peaceful state of mind. Know that you’re safe and secure, and that your mind and body will continue to protect and support you as you rest.
Take one final deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly. And when you’re ready, open your eyes, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Peace, love, and Om