Music is universal. When people listen to music, it triggers a part of our brain that lets us have an emotional and sometimes a physical reaction (i.e., crying, heart racing, etc.) which differs person to person due to our own brain chemistry and experiences. Listening to music is also a great way for us to practice mindfulness. Listening to music mindfully allows us to be fully present, increase our attention to ourselves and others around us, increase awareness of our bodies and emotions, and reduce anxiety and stress. It also helps us practice being nonjudgmental of our emotions and thoughts that arise when we listen to music mindfully.
Sounds have vibrations at different levels or frequencies just like colors in the rainbow. When these vibrations hit our ears and brains each frequency causes a reaction When we utilize colored noise in our mindfulness practices there are additional mental health benefits. For example, we can identify our emotions and thoughts that arise which helps us process things that we may not have realized we were not acknowledging due to distractions in our lives. Additional examples include: white noise helps us block out distractions to help increase concentration and focus, pink noise sounds more like heavy rainfall which helps us relax and experience deeper sleep, red and brown noise mimic the sound of strong waterfalls or ocean waves from afar which helps with concentration and focus. Other benefits include improved cognition, increased ability to learn, and increased quality of sleep.
During a creative topic activity (completed with adults and younger adolescents), I reviewed the benefits of mindfulness with my clients and educated them on how to practice mindful listening as well as the benefits of each colored noise. I then had my clients mindfully listen to white, pink, red, blue, orange, green, and brown noise for two minutes and they were instructed to write down any thoughts, feelings, or memories that came up for them. We then discussed how different noises/frequencies prompted different feelings and thoughts, how everyone’s reactions were different, and if we can control our emotions. Overall, they enjoyed the activity, thought it was interesting, and thought provoking.