How Playing the Guitar Can Relieve Stress
It is important for anyone to have some form of stress reliever in their life. Everyone has something that allows them to get away from the world, if only for half an hour or so, and take their minds of the stresses and strains of modern life. Many like to take a walk, other meditate to really find inner peace and introspection. Then there are those that turn to music. Music enriches the soul and evokes emotions that help us switch off from our problems for a short time. There are many ways to enjoy these benefits. Some will put in a pair of earbuds, sit in the corner and listen to some relaxing music. Others will put on a favourite band and something more powerful as they pound the streets on a run. Listening to music is a great start, but playing it can be even better for our mental state.
Playing music brings up those positive feelings and emotions in a new way. Listening to music can bring up strong memories and emotions, and it is important to find the styles and songs that suit a session of stress-relief. This means nothing that reminds you of an ex or a situation causing problems. They can be happy and uplifting, intense and angry or plain relaxing.
A randomised playlist could be a problem, but playing music puts the subject squarely in your hands. You can work on major chords and songs you have always wanted to master. The positive emotions and feelings of hearing the song only intensify with the feeling of accomplishment on getting it right. There is also the added benefit that a session of playing music like this can lower blood pressure.
The act of learning a song or a new chord progression also works in well with principles of mindfulness and meditation.
Meditation and mindfulness require the ability to fully focus on the task at hand, block out negative external factors and appreciate the moment for what it is. Playing music requires more concentration than listening to it. There is the physical repetition of playing the notes and the concentration of listening to the sound and correcting any mistakes. This all means that the outside world quickly disappears. The only important thing in that moment is the act of playing guitar and taking the time to enjoy the process and emotions that come with it. Meditative walking works on a principle of repetition and rhythm that help people to focus and relax. Guitar playing isn’t all that different. The repetitive work of learning scales and melodies and the rhythm that develops helps to calm players in both body and mind.
The great thing about learning the guitar and writing music is that it is a discipline you can work on every day.
There are some forms of relaxation that aren’t always immediately accessible. If you like to run on the beach and let your worries disappear into the sand and surf, it can be tricky if the weather and tide or not on your side. If you have a favourite cafe that serve the best comfort food for an afternoon break, it isn’t much use when stressful situations occur late at night. The guitar is a companion that is always there for you when you need it. It is always there when you come home for an evening of writing and playing, and it will travel with you to any suitable location. It can go to a friend’s house in the rain and the park in the sun. This means that you can rely on this form of meditation and relaxation every day. It can become an important part of a stress-relieving routine.
Even if you don’t completely switch off into this meditative state, there is a good chance that your mind has focused on something fun for a short while. Sure there will be times when the songs and lessons are frustrating, but you will be focused on that act on achievement for that half hour period. The concerns and stresses of the day will melt away with the positive feeling from the music and you know that you can pick the instrument up whenever you want to do it all again.