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Best Medicine- [The Wasted Time Project]

The Wasted Time Project Post 4

Music- It’s Everywhere

Whether you’re a musician or not, music is a big part of our existence on this little planet. If you walked up to someone randomly in the street , you’d probably freak the crap out of them, but (once they’d calmed down and realised you’re not a mugger) you could expect everyone to be able to, at least, give you the title of their favourite song. Most people would be able to tell you a song that reminds them of someone or something significant. Some would be able to tell you a song/album/artist that got them through a particular time in their life. Music really is the best medicine, as it speaks to everyone, there are no side-effects and you can’t be allergic to it. If you’re going through a tough time, struggling with negative thoughts or battling stress, music can do wonders.

Using music in different ways has helped me to power through difficult times, block out negative thoughts and even helped me to accept my emotions and deal with them in a healthy way, rather than a destructive way.

Here are three ways music has helped me and hopefully will help you deal with stress and negativity.



What to do: Listen to an album in its entirety. No skipping or shuffling. If you struggle to listen to just one artist or have never listened to an album all the way through (we’re living in the age of the iPod and Spotify after all) choose a soundtrack or musical which has a story that motivates you to listen all the way through. Put your headphones in or play it on your own, in a room and just take however long the album is for yourself, without distraction.

Why does it help? When you listen to a playlist of songs that you know, you’re just reliving thoughts, memories and feelings that you associate with those songs- that’s why you chose them in the first place! When you listen to an album in its entirety, you will discover songs that you previously ignored or didn’t initially like and unearth some new emotions or thoughts from these songs. An unfamiliar song can cause you to pay more attention to the lyrics (because you don’t know them) and you can actually take in what the artist is trying to say.

Furthermore, when I’m listening to a playlist, the music becomes background noise to my thoughts, because I’m already familiar with the songs and I’m not getting anything new from it. When I listen to an album I concentrate fully to what I’m listening to because there are a few songs I’m not familiar with and I can get completely lost in it. Kind of like getting lost in a new book. Also, getting lost in the music can help me to either distract myself from feelings of worry or connect to my feelings and take time to accept them and understand them. Sometimes it’s good to listen to music that is sad or thought-provoking and just let yourself wallow a little bit. A little bit of musical wallowing has helped me to accept my feelings and deal with them in a healthy way rather than a negative, repressive sometimes self-destructive way. Sometimes you’re sad- and that’s ok.


Sing, Sing, Sing (or Play, Play, Play)

What to do: You don’t have to sing, if you prefer playing your instrument instead, that’s good too, as it’s the same principle…it’s just everyone has access to vocal chords, but not everyone has access to a trombone. Put on a song you know, you love, you can belt louder than Whitney Houston with a megaphone. Or choose a piece you know inside out and just play it for pure enjoyment. Play/sing for as long as you want (or until the neighbours send the police around for noise disturbance- whichever is longest).

Image result for SINGING gif

Why does it help? I used to love playing pieces I didn’t have to concentrate to play, as it was just a release, rather than a practise session. However, since me and my instrument had a bit of a falling out, singing became something I did regularly as stress relief. There is something incredibly therapeutic about putting a song on,  forgetting the world exists and just singing. I sing songs from musical theatre mostly, because you have a lot to think about when you’re performing them, therefore it can be a good distraction from your negative feelings or you can actually use these feelings to convey the emotion in the song, which is quite a healthy way to acknowledge these feelings. Plus I wanted to be in the West End not too long ago, but was too much of a wimp to do the audition for drama school, so I suppose this is my way of living with that regret. I’ve never pursued singing as a career or done any exams in it, so there are no expectations or pressure- it’s just fun.

Whatever instrument you choose, just spending half an hour playing through a piece or singing your favourite songs without criticism or pressure can be brilliant for relieving stress.



What to doYou don’t need to be a musician to do this. It can be something as simple as creating a playlist of songs that pick you up when you’re down, or a driving playlist for your commute to work. Get Garageband (app on iPod/iPhone/iPad/Mac) and create some music. Write lyrics, songs or poems. Create a cover or arrange a piece of music. Start a blog!

Why does it help?It’s creative, it’s productive and it’s yours. You don’t need to share it with people if you prefer not to, but it’s something you can put your name to and think- ‘I did that’. A project is always a good distraction and with no deadlines or expectations, it can be a great release and you know- fun! Setting some time aside to do something creative may seem like wasting time, especially if you’re not going to share it or get any tangible gain from doing it. However you never know what you might create and you always learn something from doing a creative project. If nothing else, it can be a great distraction, it can relieve stress and again provide a focus.


Just something as simple as sticking your ipod on for an hour and chilling on your bed or couch can work magic. There is a song or piece that will soothe, make better or just support  whatever it is you’re feeling. Whichever way you choose, allow music to work for you. Music is medicine for the soul*

*bloody hell, that is the cheesiest line I’ve ever written *gags*.

Be you. Be Positive. Use music.


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